Not gonna do it

I absolutely refuse to have an opinion on the whole Will Smith/Chris Rock Oscars thing. I will say this, and this only: that every middle schooler in America yelled the words “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth” in the hallway at least once today, and I could maybe have done without that. If you really need to hear my opinion on it, feel free to go on the Internet, find someone else’s opinion, and assign it to me. I hear that it’s not hard to find people talking about it.

ALSO! My wife and son are out of town. It is the boy’s Spring Break, and she took the week off so that someone was home with him, and they have popped off to Indianapolis for a quick overnight trip to see some friends. I suppose technically I was invited. In accordance with my new temporary bachelor state, I had Chipotle for dinner, bought incorrect lightbulbs at Target (I did not realize that “sunlight” not only meant “full spectrum of light” but also meant “installs two miniature suns in your office”) and I am also currently not wearing pants. I will play video games for three hours once I am done with this post and then get two hours of sleep. It’ll be super.

Let’s see, what else? I have survived the first of the necessary four days until my own Spring Break, which doesn’t really start on Friday, but since Friday is a day with no students it may as well. Tomorrow should also be survivable; I’m hoping for suspensions and/or injuries leading into Wednesday and Thursday.

I received this email from my boss toward the end of the day:

To provide a little bit of possibly-unnecessary context to this, this year the teachers’ day starts at 8:40 on Tuesday and Thursday instead of 9:20, which is when school actually starts. Those two extra 40-minute blocks are supposed to be used for professional development and team meetings. Now, keep in mind, all day Friday is supposed to be PD this week, and as of right now I don’t have the slightest idea what the hell they’re throwing at us. I will be skipping this event and daring anyone to say anything to me about it, because I do not recognize “fun movement activity” as a concept that exists and this is either an extraordinarily tone-deaf joke or an actual insult. I ain’t going. I suspect that “morale raising” is supposed to be the point of this; they can best support my morale at this point in the year by leaving me the hell alone. If anybody asks, I got to work late. Fire me.

And, on that note, I’m off to the Lands Between. Hopefully I’ll notice when it gets dark; this lamp is really out of control.

In which works are in progress

Still thrashing about trying to come up with a good name for the YouTube channel; there is now a temporary name and two streams up, both of which I’m slightly dissatisfied with for various reasons but I have Plans to fix that. That said, you should go there, and … smash? that subscribe button? I’m unsure of the proper verb. I think Subscribe buttons are smashed but I can’t be certain.

The bitmoji is probably temporary too, but I need some sort of temporary branding to go with my temporary channel name, so.

Why not just go with existing names? Well, I sort of want this (and probably my TikTok account as well, which is due for a rename) to be something I can cross-promote from here but still be something that isn’t a problem if my students discover it. I spent a moment thinking about just calling the channel Infinitefreetime Gaming, but I did an experimental Google on the phrase and it leads straight back here. Infinitegametime already exists and infiniteplaytime sounds like it’s something for small children. I could keep Luther Plays Games and just play it off as not wanting to use my real name– that is my grandfather’s name, after all, so it’s not as if I don’t have any connection to it– and so long as the word Siler doesn’t appear anywhere it ought to be fine. But I’d prefer a third choice. Possibly something making fun of my advanced age. Who the hell knows.

I spent six hours today in a Zoom meeting for my real job, which bounced back and forth between being useful and tedious depending on whether we were in breakout rooms with people from our school or listening to the presenters. Every alarm I have started going off early in the day, when one of the presenters called on someone to read the slide being displayed on the screen out loud, and then interrupted her after two sentences so that she could call on someone else to read more of it. I was not called on, but I hope y’all don’t think I’m bullshitting when I say that my mic and camera would have stayed off if I had been, and to hell with any social consequences. We’re adults. That shit borders on sin. I don’t know how the hell we’ve been conducting everygoddamnthing over Zoom for over a fucking year and people still think that kind of unbearable nonsense is the way to run a meeting.

I also got to put aside one of my projects for this summer; I’ve discovered that the earliest I can take my math test for my National Board certification is April, and as a lifelong procrastinator I’m sure as hell not going to start studying in June for a test I’m not taking for ten months. So that’s exciting. It gives me more time to plan for next year and work on other shit. It means when I do start studying I’ll have to do it during the school year, but something makes me think that’s not going to be all that much of a problem. We’ll see.

In which even complaining is too tiring

To the right: my actual profile picture in my Canvas account, after all of ten minutes of the “professional development” I had to do today.

Y’all, I have done so much complaining about how terrible and boring and flat-out insulting education professional development is over the last 20 years that even I don’t want to listen to myself doing it any longer. E-learning was done as of May 20, and the kids have until this Wednesday to complete any outstanding work, even though it really doesn’t matter because their grades can’t go down from 3rd quarter anyway by state policy— which is super great for the kids who have legitimately been stressing out about their grades during all this, to let them know that none of it mattered at all– but we are still on the hook until June 2nd. We have three days this week where we are supposed to complete “10 to 12 hours” of professional development from a menu of “courses” on Canvas, literally none of which are remotely relevant to middle school or to math teaching. That’s not an exaggeration– screening the offerings for my grade level offers two courses that are not, in fact, relevant to my grade level, and screening for “math” gives me nothing.

It is only hitting me as I’m typing this that we have not been told that we’re using Canvas next year. It is not impossible that they’re only using this to deliver PD, in which case the time I spent today to learn how to use Canvas was wasted.

Actually, who am I kidding– it was a waste anyway, as one of Canvas’ strengths appears to be how intuitive it is, which means that people like me do not need to watch hours of videos explaining how to do things, because we already know how to do them. An example: I am to watch a four-minute video about how to rearrange questions in a quiz.

ME: I bet it’s drag and drop.

VIDEO: Four minutes– four fucking minutes— about how to drag and drop a menu item. Which is not very long in a literal sense, but imagine that you have to watch 70 of these damn things, and even at 1.5x speed they’re still ponderous and unbearable and also you already know how to do everything they’re telling you.

This may be how some people learn, but it is not functional for me, particularly when all the narrator is doing is reading text off a screen. Because when I see words I read them, and I read them faster than any narrator would ever read them, except the narrator is yelling in my ear, so I’m not comprehending what I’m reading very well, and I can’t stop reading and listen to the narrator because I can’t have words in front of me that I’m not reading. I understand, because I have been a teacher for two decades and I have heard this from too many people at too many times for it to not be true, that some people are capable of choosing to not read text that is placed in front of them. I am not able to do that. If I see words, I am reading words.

The entire exercise was estimated to take, no shit, 9-12 hours for the entire course, and I finished it in less than three. (Even if I’d watched every second of the videos at regular speed, it wouldn’t have taken 9-12 hours; I have no idea where that estimate came from or whether anyone meant for it to be taken seriously.) Part of me feels like that means I’m done with my 10-12 hours of PD, since this was supposed to take that long. I dunno; I’ll probably find one more module that doesn’t look too objectionable and do it tomorrow. We’ll see.

6:01 PM, Tuesday May 26: 1,676,401 confirmed cases and 98,787 deaths. I have seen it reported that we’ve officially hit the 100,000 mark in deaths, but I don’t know where that data’s coming from, and I’m not changing my source now. I don’t know if it’s reporting a little slower or being more conservative in what counts a death or what.

Same as it ever was

UnknownMeeting today was surprisingly productive, honestly.  I don’t have a lot to say about it other than that, but it was nice to go to an all-day teacher meeting and, other than introductions in the morning running a trifle longer than they needed to be, not feel like my time was being wasted at any point.  I think I’m going to like this job.

Also, the whole day was a constant whipsaw between “holy shit, nothing ever changes around here” and the odd feeling that by being gone two years I had missed out on everything changing.  At the same time.  Which was deeply weird.

Also, my day started at eight, and I’m tired as hell.  Morning coffee is going to go back to being a high priority for me, I think, after a couple of years of it not being especially essential.  Also returning to my daily lifestyle: my laptop bag, which as of today contains not only the Macbook Pro and iPad Pro I already owned but also a Chromebook.  Because I need to be a nerd across multiple operating systems, dammit!  But Google certification for my Clark Kent identity is in my near future, and I’ll be spending a lot of time screwing around with Chromebooks this year, so I figured I ought to pick up a relatively inexpensive one.  So: new hotness.  I will be The Master of The Googlez by the end of the month.

And then I got home and no dog greeted me at the door and everything was sad again.  It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes before I stop noticing she’s gone.

Tuesday miscellany

hannah-gadsby-2No overarching theme today, just a few random bits and bobs that are on my mind.  Hooray for Tuesday!

  • I’m on Day Three of The Week of Single Daddery, and it’s going great.  It took less than 12 hours of my wife being gone before I stepped in a pile of warm dogshit in my hallway, left there by a dog that had been let outside less than half an hour previously.  It was early in the morning and I was barefoot.  Because of course I was.   Last night, my not-quite-seven-year-old son took a shit that was, I swear I am not exaggerating, the size of my fist in our main bathroom.  I heard him flush but did not realize at the time that the shit was too big to flush, and we have one of those toilets that claims to be able to pass a couple dozen golf balls without trouble.  I had to cut that fucking piece of shit up with a plastic knife this morning to get it to flush, and it was actually kinda difficult to saw through.  My wife can come home anytime she wants.
  • Also, he wet the bed the night before last.  Parenting in general has just been wonderful lately.
  • I watched Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix special, Nanette, last night.  It is getting more and more true that the reason to subscribe to Netflix is their original programming, guys.  If you read me on a regular basis you have probably seen recommendations for this special in the same places I have, and let me echo them: this is an important piece of work, and you should absolutely make sure to watch it.  I’m not going to talk about it in much detail because I kind of wish I had gone in blind, and if you’re able to watch this special without knowing anything other than Luther Siler says I need to watch this, please go do so.
  • So this just happened:


  • I signed up for an all-day training for NewJob tomorrow, and I’ve already seen several signs that I’m not going to enjoy it very much.  On the one hand, it’s a $100 stipend, and I just found out when my first paycheck is going to be and the end of August and the beginning of September are gonna be scary, and on the other hand I have other things I would rather be doing tomorrow and it’s not like that $100 is going to come early.  I got an email yesterday about a two-hour pre-workshop homework thing they want me to do.  I have shit to do today.  I’m not super interested in two hours of homework, especially for a pedagogical technique that as near as I can tell will not work at all with kids who won’t do homework.  I am tempted to show up without doing any of mine and asking the trainer what she thinks should be done about me.  Or I could just cancel.  Who knows?
  • I spent most of yesterday rereading the early manuscript for Sunlight.  What I have written is actually pretty damn good, I think.  And I’m getting closer and closer to getting the overarching plot issues sorted out so that I can avoid Middle Book Syndrome.    It’s coming!  I swear!  Eventually!
  • I beat Dark Souls Remastered a few weeks ago, and have been replaying through Bloodborne since then.  I’m doing a lot better than the first time I played through; I never managed to beat Martyr Logarius on my first playthrough and I clobbered his ass on my first try this time.  I’m up to the second to last boss, who beat me several times yesterday.  I’ll get him today, dammit, then it’s on to another shot at either 2 or 3, neither of which have I beaten.  I love this series, but it took several games before I actually got halfway good at it.
  • I had a free consultation at a local LASIK clinic this morning.  LASIK is way less expensive than I had thought, and it turns out I’m a more or less perfect candidate for it.  I’m broke as hell right now, mind you, but I think this is something that is probably on my agenda for next summer.  Time to start socking money away.

More later, maybe, if I come up with anything else I want to talk about today.