Current/Recent Reading List

11 December 2008

Standing Athwart Facebook Yelling "STOP!"

That's me.

I know Facebook went mainstream and ceased being only for the acne crowd lo many moons ago. I know adults my age and older are using it to keep track of old friends, classmates, etc. I know it is used for social networking in an age of dispersion and alienation.

But most of all I know that I don't care. I declare here and now that I will never, never, ever, never have a Facebook page.

This all comes up because the Wyfe is finally making noise about creating her own page so she can keep up with old high school and college buddies. She has been informed, however, that I want no part of it. A partial list of reasons includes:

1. I cannot disassociate Myspace and Facebook from the pernicious effects both have had on many a teenager I have taught.

2. I don't want to be found, or contacted by those who don't already know how to find me (for reasons only the CIA and I know about).

3. It would just be one more damn thing to keep track of.

4. Younger teachers tell me about students trying to "friend" them on their pages all the time.

5. I resent the de facto formation of verbs like "to friend" that have arisen as a result of these sites.

6. Deep down (well, Hell - not so deep down) I have always enjoyed playing the part of the crotchety old man who likes to be contrary, just because.

True, there is irony in the fact that I'm publishing this rant on a blog. But blogs are practically Victorian at this point, and could survive a Burkean analysis of established social traditions, I'm sure. (right? right?)

In any case, I'll have a Facebook page when they register me by tapping my cold, dead fingers on the keyboard.

09 December 2008

Advent Diary #1

Probably like most who hope (very often, in my case, not strongly enough) to live the faith in word and deed, I've never been a terrific keeper of Advent - Lent has always been an easier time of year for me to discipline myself, put off instant gratification, reflect on shortcomings and sins, and learn to wait.

This year I decided to keep all of this in mind more often, and focus more intently during Advent on the fallen world all around us, and within us, before Christmas Day. Frankly, I haven't been doing so well, but I have had many things going on that are serving as very ugly reminders. To wit:

1. Major, major girl conflicts going on in yearbook, which brings with it the exciting baggage of a psycho mom calling me on my cell phone and another mom expressing "disappointment" over my consideration of removing her daughter from the class before taking intermediate steps.

2. Major, major seven year-old conflicts going on with my son's basketball team (luckily he's not one of the problems) between a bully whiner kid and another kid who wants to quit because of him (I'm asst. coach again, natch).

3. A member of my teaching team avoiding the other two members of my teaching team at all turns, with no one knowing why or being brave enough to ask (she's not mad at me, I'm certain, but I think I'm going to have to play detective/mediator at any rate).

So there you go - high school girls and moms, seven year-old boys, and mid-twenties teachers served up in a big, happy Advent pie. Then again, I asked for it this year, didn't I? I trust God has His reasons.

08 December 2008

Acknowledging An Unacknowledged Sabbatical

Here's the thing this year- school begins at 7:10, which means I have to be up at 6:00 and moving quickly. We finish at 2:20, and can leave at 3:15, at which point I head straight to the elementary school and get in line so I can pick up the Boy. We get home, I help with homework, maybe get in a short snooze, then cook for the three of us before Wyfe arrives just after 6:00. Then it's clean the kitchen, maybe get in some exercise, and get the kid to bed. By that point, my blog motivation is hanging by a thread (and none of this even takes into account nights for baseball, and now basketball, both practices and games). So...

Yeah, the blog has been a big desert, as has out of school grading time, putting me way behind on everything. ARRRGHH!

But, I'm going to try and return from my month-long sabbatical somehow or another. I'll try to squeeze in some things as soon as I get home, at least on certain days and see how it goes.

It is true, by the way, that I did run over a deer last week, if you've heard the rumor. Not a reindeer, at least!