In which I fight evil

It was a good day. It was a stressful day– I was fully expecting someone to die somewhere because of the inauguration, and I may have more thoughts on it later. But it appears that everything went off without any violence, and the right-wing goon squad seems to have dried up and blown away without the Asshole encouraging them on Twitter. Hopefully it will stay that way.

I had a Thing happen, though, unrelated to the inauguration, and if you don’t mind I’m just going to embed a bunch of Tweets because I’d tell the story the same way here anyway.

(These appear to have embedded obnoxiously, which I apologize for, but hopefully a single click will take you straight to Twitter, where you can read these and view the images in native format.)

What particularly annoys me about this is that when I’m daydreaming about winning the lottery, the specific way in which I fantasize about being ultra-rich is that I want to set up a charitable foundation, and part of the way I want to use the funds for my charitable foundation is by flitting around the Internet and randomly and anonymously completely fulfilling people who post GoFundMes and various and sundry other “I’m getting evicted, please send me money” types of things. And I can imagine a world where I might actually just do a Twitter search for “credit card debt,” and then ask for Venmo addresses so I can send folks money. So I decided to take this seriously until it proved to be a scam (which was what I expected) or I somehow got $3K from the money fairy on Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day, which trust me, was about to be taken as an omen.

Instead, hopefully I got to ruin a scammer’s day. I mean, probably not, but I hope at least BoA zaps that account and Twitter bans Annette. Either way, all in a day’s work, I guess.

That time of year again

…It’s Dear God White People Shut Up day!

I talk about this every year, and I do it to remind my fellow white people: Martin Luther King would have been to the left of every major politician you can name, and next year I need to mute his name on MLK Day because I get so unbelievably tired of (mostly) conservative politicians deliberately erasing everything about what the man thought in favor of a toddler’s conception of Jesus; ie, the Nicest Man Who Ever Lived, who never made anyone uncomfortable in any way and how dare you suggest any such thing. White people hated him when he was killed (by, uh, a white guy; not an accident) and the simple fact is if he were still alive and kicking most of us– most of the white men, at least– would hate him today too. There are politicians who praised him today who this month have voted to disenfranchise Black voters. It is proof of the nonexistence of life after death that this man, having spent most of said afterlife talking to Malcolm X and watching white people continue the Same Exact Shit, has not risen from his grave to slap his name out of the mouths of all sorts of people.

This is another one of those days where it is made perfectly clear to me (not that I ever doubted it) that I cannot possibly understand the Black experience in this country, because I am driven to snarling incoherent rage several times a week by white nonsense and I do not understand why Black people aren’t killing us all the time. I would understand it.

One minor little detail about that tweet that at least entertained me if not generating a minor amount of actual pride, much like a puppy that has received a single pat on the head: the head of the Afro-American Studies department at Howard University retweeted it. I’m not sure I should be as geeked by that as I am, but whatever. I’ll take my joys where I can get them this year.

(Also, the rest of the speech quoted in the tweet is here; I hadn’t read it before today and it’s well worth reading.)


I got a lot done today, and one of the things on that list was putting together lesson plans for tomorrow and the day after. My plans for Inauguation Day? Nothing. I expect to be a jittery wreck for most of the day even if it goes smoothly, and while none of my students really seem especially into politics or The News I suspect a handful of them are worried about it as well. So fuck it. I gave them a day off on Wednesday, which is typically a day with no in-person instruction anyway, because of “district training” that somehow never involves middle school math teachers. I also cancelled the 8th grade team meeting, and flat-out admitted in the email that I was doing it because I didn’t expect to be in any shape to take it seriously.

So far, nobody’s come after me. I don’t expect that to change, but we’ll see what happens.

On shitty advice

I’ve seen this video, or at least heard the audio clip, on TikTok several times, generally over a video of someone making something with their hands. I would talk about it there, except the way the site works there’s no good way to respond to a full minute of audio. I can talk over him and have the full minute, or I can clip out five seconds and then have 55 seconds of my own afterward, but neither really works, so … off to blogging!

Go ahead and watch the video; it’s only a minute long.

Look, I get enough of people not watching videos that are critical to understanding the next thing they’re going to do from my students. You haven’t watched the video yet. Watch the video.

Fine, figure it out.

This is terrible advice and this man is dumb.

Now, I don’t know when he said this, but the fact that he put it on his TikTok account implies that it was pretty recent. Which is odd, because the world that this might have worked in went away, like, decades ago. First of all, I love the implication that everybody can afford to take 90 days to work for free. So you’re either living at home and don’t have any bills or you already have enough money saved up that three months of rent, all expenses, potentially your student loans coming due (be real, he’s not envisioning someone who has student loans) and, oh, right, health insurance, which nobody gives to people who are working for them for free. Anybody who can afford to do that already has plenty of connections, and frankly if they’re planning on entering the business world their best contacts are almost certainly their parents. And entering the business world is the only possibility this person is really picturing; if the person who is “living your ideal life” is anything but the owner of a business this whole idea falls apart– you can’t approach, say, an author, or a comedian, or a school principal with a deal like this. The other possibility is some sort of apprenticeship model for a craftsperson, but guess what– we already have that sort of thing, and “connections” aren’t really all that useful if what you want to do with your life is build cabinets or chairs or something like that.

The other fun thing is his theory about how this process ends. After you have spent ninety days working harder than anyone this business owner has ever met, for free, you approach him and tell him (it is also certainly a him in this dude’s scenario) that you would now like to work for money. If you are told no, you shake hands and part ways (… and then what?) and if you are told yes, you have entered the odd question mark in this Underpants Gnome scheme for profit.

What if dude looks at you and says “I’m not sure, work for me for another 90 days for free and then I’ll decide?”

What if the wage he offers you is insulting? (Side point, but I will never as long as I live forget seeing a job listing offering $15 an hour and demanding a Master’s degree.)

Has this guy not realized that unpaid internships are already a thing, that they’re basically used as free slave labor by the businesses that sponsor them, that they have basically the exact same economic problems that I’ve already outlined above, and there’s an endless supply of them for anyone who wants to employ them? There is no fucking shortage of trust-fund shitheads who are willing to work for “free” (ie, everything paid for by their parents) and bring coffee to people for a semester in hopes that someone remembers their name when they hit the job market. There will never not be college juniors, dude.

I am sorely tempted to look more closely into this person giving this speech on a stage with a wireless microphone in his ear, to find out how his parents got their money.

Whoopsie

Somebody almost fucked around and forgot to blog today. Not that I actually have anything I want to talk about; I just had a parent come at me about her son’s “alleged” absences and I’m not in the greatest mood.

Well, okay, I’m in that sort of I keep receipts for allllll of this, ma’am, and you’re about to find out what my tone is like when I’m not telling you to fuck yourself but I want you to hear that anyway mood.

Do not, in the same damn email, tell me that you’re not home during the day when your son is supposed to be at school and then use the word “alleged” to refer to his absences. Just don’t. It’s not gonna go well.

Off to watch television.

In which I’m on to this now

In the past time-has-no-meaning-anymore-so-let’s-say a month or so, I have developed and abandoned several new hobbies. I was super into woodturning for a while, and recently I’ve developed a fascination with paper- and bookmaking. I have turned no wood, made no paper, crafted no books, but I’ve been watching a lot of videos. I’ve managed to avoid spending any money on anything, although the fact of the matter is investing in the few things I’d need to make some shitty little notebooks with my copious spare time and brain cycles would actually not cost very much.

The other day I discovered that an app I was already using for something else allows me to buy stocks and Bitcoin. On a lark, and because I’m so unused to the concept of having spare funds that I don’t know what the hell to do with it, I bought $20 in Apple stock and $20 in Bitcoin, and at some point in between then and now I bought $25 in Moderna stock and upped the Apple buy to $25 so that they were even. Because that is how you make stock decisions; you look at how much you’ve spent on two entirely different companies and even the amounts out just for the hell of it.

Bitcoin has plunged in value since I bought it. Like, to the point that there are articles being written about it. I’ve made like two bucks on the stocks. But the fact is, I don’t know anything about any of this and in theory I would like to retire some day, so … maybe I should learn something about how, like, investments work? When I was unemployed a few years I had to cash out what little retirement I had so we could, like, keep the house, so in theory I have some investments in some funds somewhere and some retirement accounts, maybe something with a K in the name of it or something, although it’s not a 401K because something something public employee, I don’t know. But I don’t know anything about this.

(An example of how little I know: I found out earlier that a Pfizer … subsidiary … named BioNTech may be close to a Parkinson’s vaccine. I don’t know what a subsidiary actually is or whether BioNTech is one, but the companies are related somehow. BioNTech is BNTX on the Nasdaq and the app I’m using appears to not know it exists and I don’t know why, because I don’t actually really know what the Nasdaq is, or if it’s different from what I’m using to invest, and blah blah blah blah. I do not actually really know what “The Dow” is, in any functional way, other than it seems to be a graph that reacts to the emotions of rich people on any given day. I’m real real real dumb about this. I need to be less dumb, so I need a way to learn.)

So here’s my question, if there’s anyone out there who knows a useful amount of information about this: if I were to want to fiddle with the idea of being a small-time investor for a little while, making the occasional trade to the tune of, like, $20-25 a week or something like that, what apps or services should I be looking at for something like that? Ideally with a portfolio that has independent existence outside the app, so that I can take it with me, so to speak? The Bitcoin thing isn’t something I’m dedicated to, and I’m fine with the idea of selling everything I’ve bought in this app before moving to another one– I’m using such small amounts of money right now that even if I took a hit on it it’s not a thing I’m worried about.

Also, before you say anything, yes, I understand that right now is probably not a great time to get into the market, what with the impending civil war and all; again, I’m just dipping my toes in and only putting in money I’m willing to lose. I’m not about to suddenly invest an entire paycheck and cross my fingers that I’m going to get rich or something like that.

But all that said: any suggestions?