Yes, today C and I went to various garden centers and got rocks – that is some big boulders to accent our front garden. It’s part of C’s wonderful plan to get rid of most of our front lawn and replace it with ‘proper’ landscaping and gardening. No, Bob couldn’t take our rocks; they’re being delivered, and then C and I will crowbar and shove and coax them into place. Lucky me, but I guess it’s all good. Other than that we really haven’t done much today, but it’s okay. We didn’t do much yesterday either. Which is a shame because the house is a mess and seems to be staying that way, and such. But the power to change our routines is inside me (apparently) and he (also apparently).
Yesterday I did a bit more – I went to the gym. I had a good time – I’m building back up to 60 minutes slowly; I did 55. There wasn’t much eye candy, but that’s okay. I walked listening to Click and Clack and their show Car Talk. Their cartoon was pretty sucky, but their radio show is cool and I get it on podcast. Afterwards, we didn’t do much – I actually took a marathon nap – and got a pizza (too lazy to cook). I’m very proud of myself – I ate only half of my pizza where I normally would eat the whole damned thing. 🙂 I managed not to gorge myself because I was reading My Stroke of Insight (a book by a brain scientist who survived a stroke and examined that experience from the inside out with a scientific precision). I really recommend it and I recommend doing what I did – being very unwilling to get pizza grease all over it! It helped!
This work week seemed to go by so fast in hindsight although it was quite draggy at the time. I am now involved in a project to consolidate our training support brigades from nine to six or seven, and from nine installations to three. It’s my role to help determine our proposed organizational structures based on DA norms and the commanders’ and trainers’ assessment of how many, what grade, and what skills they need, within our total allocated resources. It sounds more exciting than it is. 🙂 But it beats being bored.
Eatingwise I didn’t do so well, so tomorrow is looking a bit uncertain and I’m not sure what it will be like this last weigh in.
My routine will be all off next week as I’m in a class in DC the first two days learning all(!) about “Position Management” at the USDA Graduate School. I’ll probably take Metro down as I live very near Greenbelt Station and the training center is near L’Enfant Plaza Station.
What Else, AngloAm?
Well there was a very interesting article in the Economist about how drastically consumers are pulling back from spending and wondering whether this will be a long-term shift in behaviour. I would imagine that at the very least the longer the recession drags on and the deeper it bites, it may very well. People have gotten so far in hock and if they can’t pay their bills they are in such shock that I think there will indeed be some big changes in how people spend and save. I don’t think that keeping up with the Jones’s stuff will be as important as keeping up with the Jones’s stability.
There was an article in the NY Times that made me angry though. Apparently for well-heeled New Yorkers, who were used to buying houses with little regard for the local schools because they were always going to send their pampered progeny to private, are now either rushing to good local schools, selling their multi-million dollar apartments at losses to move to good school zones, or cheating to get the little kiddies places in the few seats each school opens to non-zone pupils.
All very well and good, except (a) where were these ‘concerned parents’ when the schools were being gutted in the last ten years or so? Probably sending little Johnny to private school while voting for vouchers and cuts to the public ones. After all, it’s not like they had to worry about what the neighbourhood scum would have to death with, right? (b) Cheating to get your kid a good education? This is what one of the parents said:
- “I will certainly consider some alternative way to game the system by gaining a different address,” said the man, who asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. “This is my child, who is a really smart kid, and he’s not going to my crummy zoned school. That’s just not going to happen.”
Charming isn’t it? It’s good enough for the rest of the little monsters but not his ‘really smart kid’ (to listen to them, most parents think that their offspring are above average in intelligence which may say more about the paucity of statistics numeracy than anything else). And I guess ‘gaming’ means ‘cheating’ or ‘lying.’ What’s the chances that this person traded in derivatives on Wall Street?
(c) It’s fascinating how these nouveau pauvre parents take their underlings’ work for granted. One woman said, of moving into an established area:
- “I think there would be more established parent-teacher and community groups, and if the city has budget problems and there are cutbacks among teachers, the more established schools with strong networks among parent and alumni groups will be able to weather the storm better.”
What’d she do to build up these parent and alumni groups? Oh, I may be writing class warfare but I have to imagine until very recently she was being driven by a car service to Fifth Avenue without noticing the groups picketing or demonstrating or marching for the schools.
(d) You have to wonder how concerned about the public infrastructure they will be once they get back on Wall Street and can afford to take their heirs out of the hoi polloi and back to where their skills can be ‘nurtured’ and they can learn to be investment bankers. After all, only rich kids are ‘really smart,’ right?
I think this is happening all over – people (like me I admit) who didn’t give a flying f*ck about the libraries now can’t afford trips to Borders and are encountering the fall-out of their previous love of low taxes. They cared not a whit about local rec centers while the country club and the exclusive gym were so much better, now they have to sweat in the very facilities whose inadequacy they helped cause. So much of what’s available to the great unwashed is, well, unwashed. It certainly lacks maple paneling, soft towels, cappuccino and juice bars and the like. I just hope, rather than expect, that this readjustment will engender a rethink of our community amenities and the funding of them. D’you think it will? Or will the return of good times see the (re)moneyed class leave in a rush from the peasants’ amusements and learning shacks?
A Movie You Should Watch, A Cause You Should Support
You really should watch Paris is Burning. It’s about ball culture in New York, but it’s more about the downtrodden and the kicked out and the left on the street creating a beautiful and involving and meaningful world for themselves. The specifics in this movie are drag queens and their ‘families’ being fabulous and fierce (and sometimes shade), but every marginalized people makes safe spaces, safe languages, safe ways. The really amazing thing is that the ‘mothers’ of these drag houses often have to be young gay kids’ parents, because the kids have been chucked out on the streets. You may think this is really peculiar but I am so glad that there are these things in existence. And I’m glad that C and I contribute to a cause you should support, the Point Foundation, which supports, mentors, and gives hope to young LGBT scholars, and I’m so proud of C that he was the one who sought this foundation out.
(Don’t worry, I’m not going to become a drag queen but they are part of our culture. They remind me of perennial pansies, the hardiest of blooms.)
All these articles and cultural musings. I feel as pensive as Roman Šebrle here:
Perhaps he was thinking back to this encounter (since we’re talking about drag queens, etc.)…
(Even straight guys would have to admit Roman’s the sexier one in this picture!)