Everything under the sun is in tune

Whaaaaaat? Did you guys see Oliver Sacks on Jon Stewart? I NEED to read his new(ish) book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. There's also a special airing on PBS tomorrow at 8 PM. They show a clip where Sacks' brain lights up a teeny bit when he listens to Beethoven, but produces a ton of activity when he listens to Bach, including, remarkably, in his amygdala. I had an old professor that used to say, "There is no other composer. Bach is the only composer." I conceded his point then, as I do now.

I love Oliver Sacks and I've always loved nonfiction science. I read his Island of the Colorblind many years ago, and then fell off following his titles. Here's a great opportunity for me to get back into this genre. If I haven't said so before, if I wasn't an English teacher, I'd probably be a Science teacher (just like my mom).


A Few Good Quotes

"I'm not drinking any f*cking merlot." Paul Giamatti's character in Sideways--is there any better movie for me to be watching on my last night in CA?

"Is he going to pay back his mother now? Jackass." My dad, at the end of Sideways.

"Instead of using cold hard cash, the White House threatens to pull the rug from under dissenting legislators and offers its support to those who cede their conscience to the president’s agenda. So much for change." Jeremy Scahill, tellin it like it is as usual. Here's the context.

Plenty of lovely photos from my lovely break in the west soon to come. . .


Kid, You'll Move Mountains

As anticipated, I bordered on weeping through two readings of Oh, the Places You'll Go today (Students' conversation regarding this: "Ms [Me], are you really crying?" "Shut up, Matt. Girls are emotional.") As I chose the worst timing in the afternoon (i.e., right after an "I'm so disappointed in you guys" speech because someone broke my brand new Method spray bottle and left it for dead yesterday), I wasn't feeling too sentimental so I made it through without much pomp and circumstance. I'm saving all my high school advice for Thursday, when I'll really have them in class for the last time.

I wrote each of my students a good-bye note on the back of the class pictures we took in January. I tried hard to recall something special about each of them. Some notes are longer than others, but that's the nature of human interactions, no? By the way, before you start assuming I'm trying to be some kind of martyr, it's much easier to write 65 notes as compared to my colleagues' 130 students a day. The block schedule affords these perks and I can't say I'd be willing to write if I had double the amount of kids.

Well, this is it. Today was our last full day. Thursday is graduation. Friday is our last day of the year. I leave for California Saturday morning.

There's so much to process that I can't even begin yet. For now, I'll say that I'm wondering who I'll be next year, without the 65 kids who changed my life. There's only one way to find out. . .

The most beautiful word in the English language to me right now? Unencumbered.


Back to the gypsy that I was

Who spent 3 hours 12 feet from Stevie Nicks? Me. And my mom. It was magical.

On our way in, I politely tell Tim, the events staff member showing us to our floor seats, that if any front row seats just happen to be become available, that we would be more than happy to fill them. So Tim looks us out, as he said he would, and mere minutes later we are standing right in front of the stage. Thanks, Tim.

This was a hits tour so it stands to reason that the renditions of "Landslide," "Gypsy," "Go Your Own Way," "Dreams," "Second Hand News," "Rhiannon," etc. made up the majority of the set list. I had tears in my eyes through "Landslide." "Gold Dust Woman" was beautifully done.

Lindsey Buckingham played a ridiculous show. His solos were amazing. The passion he and Stevie showed was moving. At one point they embraced while he played his guitar. It was a moment of such personal and private emotion. You could see the years falling around them.

Here are some crappy pics I took with my camera phone, because, of course, I forgot my camera.

Stevie through various changes of clothing:

Lindsey soloing it about five feet from us:

And John McVie gettin funky:

I narrowly avoided buying a Second Hand News t-shirt, which would be somewhat a propos to my personal life right now, minus the "someone else" and "stuff." I went with one that read "Rock on Gold Dust Woman." Because who can resist that? Thanks for the t-shirt, Mom. And Happy Mother's Day!


Happiness Is


"I’m just a student I don’t think I have any good advice to give you but not to change. You are the coolest teacher I have ever had. You are so funny and happy all the time and you being happy always make me happy. You really care about your students and you invest in them making sure they do their best. You try and learn something new about everyone every day. You care enough to want to talk make their life and day better than it was. Those traits make a great teacher, that’s what you are, most definitely.

THANK YOU! I couldn’t have asked for a better year, I’m glad I wasn’t put in advanced language otherwise I wouldn’t have you as a teacher. I wouldn’t have had the experience of having a favorite teacher. We always do new and unique things in your class, it’s never boring. I wish you could be my teacher next year. I feel like I can talk to you about anything and you would understand. I hope you have fun at [our school]. I know I did."

Sorry. Some things are too good to keep to myself.

Got Swine Flu?

We do. Two reported cases.

Here comes the Lysol.


You probably need some e.e. cummings in your life.

We read this together in class the other day. One of my favorites, I just melt. I told the boys to hang on to this and give it to their girlfriends in high school. They liked this repurposing of a poem.

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

--e.e. cummings


My Thoughts Exactly.

Jay-Z diagnosing the issue with today's excuse for rap: "Death of Autotune"

. . .

And I didn't know what autotune was, either.