Friday, January 25, 2008

There [was] blood

Today was the last day of the semester. As such the students had a minimum schedule – basically a half-day – and teachers got the afternoon to finish semester grades. Needless to say, I didn’t do hardly anything and have a ton of work before I can turn my grades in in Thursday morning.

I also was able to confront the student today about taking my iPod. I didn’t know how I wanted to do it, and I’m not sure it went well. I asked if he had found the book he was looking for, and then I asked if he had found my iPod. He was confused, and so I explained why I thought he might have found it. Then he had a decent explanation as to why I thought what I did. I wouldn’t have thought he’d steal from me, but then I did think that, and now I’m not sure again. More frustrating than losing my iPod is the dilemma of knowing whether I should believe him or not, and if not how I should pursue things. If I hadn’t broken my external hard drive with all my music on it this wouldn’t be as big of a deal, since I still have my iPod nano. But a lot of music that I like was only left on my old clunky classic white iPod. Still, I’ll get over it.

I’m sitting here waiting for the bus to pick me up and take me to Rosa Parks station, where I hop on the blue line south to Long Beach. We were supposed to have a soccer game this afternoon, but because of the deluge these last few days the game was postponed until Monday. It’s nice to be getting home early for the second day in a row, but I’m disappointed that the girls didn’t get another chance to play this week.

And now I’m on the 124, heading east on El Segundo. The ability to blog and commute really is one of the best things about having an inoperable car.

Last night I watched “There will be blood” with my roommate Eric. It was as good as I had hoped. The story of an oil man and his thirst for money and success was compelling, and just as timely now as I’m sure it was when Upton Sinclair penned the book. P.T. Anderson did a great job bringing it to the screen, and I realized that there is one main aspect of his films that I really really love. Despite writing and directing movies that aren’t billed as “scary” or “funny,” Anderson creates scenes that fill me with dread or entice me to laugh. I was surprised last night by how many times I laughed out loud, and I was equally surprised by the number of times I cringed in fear, anticipating the next event. Daniel Day Lewis made me completely forget that Daniel Plainview was a character. Instead, I was drawn into his world, perplexed by his evil and buoyed by his success. The actor who played the young H.W. Plainview was also fantastic, inhabiting the character so fully that it seemed as if the actor must have had the same physical limitations as his character.

I wrote that last paragraph from the blue line before stopping to have a conversation with a coworker for Compton Unified. He works on HVAC stuff. I have my ID badge on and he initiated the conversation because he saw it. I enjoyed that part of the trip even though I usually enjoy being silent on planes, trains, and buses. I’ve been writing this part on the 191b, heading from the Del Amo station to my stop at the intersection of McHelen and Wardlow. The 124 picked me up on El Segundo at around 3:25, just to give you an idea of my commute.

The Blazers play their first home game in two weeks tonight at the Rose Garden. That seven game trip seemed pretty long, even if it only lasted twelve days. I’m excited for the six game home stand that is beginning this evening. The opponents in this stretch are all teams that I expect to beat, starting with Houston. Part of that expectation is because I have so much confidence in the team now, but I think part of it also has to do with some of the teams coming in being the sort of weak team that can’t hang with a good team at home. And we’re the best team at home in the NBA. That’s right. Portland has the best home record in the association. I might try to watch the game tonight, but it depends on what my roommates are doing.

This has been as long a post as I’ve written in quite a while, and I’ve rambled more than I have in a while too. The bus is about to make the last few turns that take me to my stop, then it’s just a four or five minute walk to my house. That makes the total commute right around an hour.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A new post? YES!

Today I had a brand new experience as a teacher: I realized that one of my students stole from me. Some of the people who read this – maybe even both of you – might believe I should have expected it, but I disagree. Because the transmission in my Volvo is nearly destroyed, I’ve been commuting on public transportation for the last two weeks. This has actually allowed me to catch up on the podcasts to which I subscribe. That means I have my iPod with me all the time. Yesterday after my last period I rushed off to get to the soccer game I was coaching. In the process I left my iPod on a sort of hidden corner of my desk. The room is always locked from outside, and I was not at all concerned that the custodian might take it. I also left my laptop on my desk. When I came back from the game I didn’t even think about the iPod, because I was getting a ride to the train station with another teacher/coach, and because the downpour during the game had left me completely soaked.

Once the train started taking me south to Long Beach, though, I did think of the iPod. I didn’t think of it again until this morning, when I checked my stuff to make sure I had left it in my room. And then I thought of it when I got to my room. But looking around, especially where I thought I’d left it, I found no trace of the iPod.

I was frustrated by that, but didn’t worry about it too much. After school I saw the custodian who cleans my room and asked him if he’d seen it. He said no, but that he had let a student in to find a book he’d forgotten. Then he described the student. I knew precisely who it was, because the student had come in that morning to “check” for his book.

It’s not my personality to assume the worst of people, and usually I would think that he really was just checking to see if his book was in my room. But instead, I think he was covering his tracks a little bit. And that’s frustrating. I’m going to seek him out tomorrow, because he wasn’t in my class today.

One last note: I’m trying to get a better schedule figured out so that I can use my commute time to write blog posts. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but this is the first one I’ve actually composed on my way to or from school. It feels good.

(One last note: my iPod was of the last generation before they all went color. That's right, the kid who stole my iPod will probably not find a market for it, because it is completely obsolete.)