Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Sun Always Shines on T.V.: Spectacular Spider-Man Season 2

So it's been awhile since I talked about The Spectacular Spider-Man, and it's also been a very long time since the show has had any new episodes...like over a year. Can anyone say Battlestar Galactica?

Anyway, the 1st season wrapped up with a Venom storyline. Now when the symbiote first appeared the suit was like Spider-Man 3's suit...ugly and just changed the colors or the red & blue look. I was pissed, but over the course of 3 episodes it changed gradually into the classic black suit. Talk about geeking out over something so small!

So season 2 starts off with Kraven, another classic Spidey villain. Now they did screw him up a bit by making him into some sort of lion/human hybrid, but whatever. The writing was just as good and the actor who plays Spider-Man does an excellent job of bring his sarcastic one liners that we all love from the comics alive to the TV screen. As much as I liked Chris Barnes from the Spider-Man animated series of the 90's, this guy does it better.

Next week, we get more of the Sinister 6. I love the classic villain feel. All the kids talk about is Venom and Carnage. It's irrating to say the least because they have no respect for the classic villain in Spidey's rogue gallery. It's fun to have a show back on that I love.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thoughts Without Words: Michael Jackson

when I heard Jackson was dead my 1st reaction was no way. I was at Disneyland, of all places, enjoying the afternoon. I couldn't get to a T.V. and called a couple people who confirmed he had died.

Jackson was the 80's (as my wife said). He could do no wrong. He might have had his troubles since the mid to late 90's, but for many people if you play a Michael Jackson song it will take them back to the first time they heard it. Or it will bring back some sort of memory from that time. His music is timeless.

I know most of my visitors might be shocked about my love for M.J., but Thriller, Bad, and Dangerous are 3 of the greatest pop albums of all time. And to make them in a row makes it that much more impressive. For metal fans, it's like Metallica's RtL, MoP, and AJFA.

I can't say I was much of a fan after those times when he had his legal issues, but you can't deny his musical talent.

One of my favorite Jackson songs that no one knows about Give in to Me.

Michael Jackson - Give In To Me (Official Music Video) - The best video clips are right here

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Right Now: Summer School week 1

one week done 5 to go.

Not a bad class lots of incoming freshmen.

Got my schedule for next year:
2 Geometry classes
2 Algebra 2 classes
1 Algebra B class

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Venting the Anger: 08 - 09 school year

ok now that the year is over I can finally let off some steam. I have only been teaching 6 years, but this was by far the worst year I have ever had. Parent/student complaints seemed to never end. Let me put it this way, in this one school year I had more complaints/conferences then I had the other 5 years combined. yeah...

So where do I start? I already mentioned the parent that told me that their child doesn't do well and can't succeed in an environment that requires responsibility and accountability on the student's part. Well there's more. The parent told me that apparently I didn't care about the students and that I was a horrible teacher. And that they needed to find teachers that cared about students' success. The student was enrolled in my summer school class, and the parent openly told me that they didn't think their child should have to take me again because I didn't work one on one with their child. I asked them with 35 - 40 students I couldn't pull the student aside, the parent was like why not? So they pulled the student out of my summer school class.

How about the day I had 3 back to back to back parent conferences. The funny thing is that in one conference I had a parent tell me their child thinks I am too strict and need to become friendlier with the students to make them feel more comfortable. Oh and if I could pull their child aside and tell them (this is the actual quote by the way) "I know you can do this, I have faith in you." Now she wanted me to tell her that one on one on the side not in front of the class. So after that conference I had a parent tell me that their child felt I was too friendly with the class and needed to become more strict. How's that for conflicting stories?

I had a student who openly told me at the end of the year that he complained to his parents after I called his parents about him not working in class. So to deflect from his problems he complained to the point where I had a meeting with my bosses. So because I held him accountable he complained...nice huh?

How about the one that told their parents that they were afraid to talk to me about anything, that I was intimidating to them. I had never spoke to the student before because they never talked in class. After that meeting, I moved the student to a more comfortable location and was friendlier to them and asked questions...but nothing. About a month later, the student was still scared to death of me.

There's the class student that didn't do any homework in my class and then proceeded to deflect his problems onto me by saying I was rude and mean in class. During that meeting, the parent clearly saw that the student wasn't doing the homework. So when I tried to use some logic by saying "look he is saying he is doing the homework, but he is lying about it and he is saying that I am doing/saying rude things in class, you don't think he could be lying about that?" The parent said no. I then asked the parent to come in and observe anytime. The parent said I don't need to come in, my child tells me what goes on in there. Yeah that makes sense.

That's another thing...I invited 4 or 5 parents to come in and observe my class. What happened? None of them took me up on it. They all said they didn't need to becuase their child told them what was going on.

Oh another favorite, early in the year I had a student who couldn't do anything...literally nothing. So he went to my T.A. and asked if she could change his grade. She said no and of course told me. I confronted the student and told him I would be contacting his GLC and parents. By the time I emailed his parents, he told them because the response I got back was "he told me about it, but he said he was joking." I told the parent that I don't find changing a grade something to joke about. The parent also mentioned that he was struggling because I was a bad teacher. I told the parent that their son is no longer in middle school or elementary school, that it is his responsiblity to do the homework, take notes, and pay attention in class. That was obviously too much to ask because the parent had him removed in a day.

Let's see how about the student that sat there and did nothing in class, maybe some other classes homework. She was failing pretty bad. Asked for her grade to be a D so she would be eligible to play a sport. When I said no, she went south...quick. Around the same time, I told the classes that I was no longer going to let them sit and fail. That I would make sure they were taking notes and doing the homework, if not I would be contacting their parents. She didn't like that one bit and then proceeded to make a list of complaints about me to her parents and GLC. All she wanted was to go to an easier class to be eligible. She got her wish.

I could literally go on forever, but that was a snap shot of how bad it was. The worst part, they were all freshmen except for one. Is this how bad it's getting with parents/students? I won't even go into the whole "tutoring" situation that hit me this year. That's best left for another post.

Now playing: Nightrage - Reality Vs truth
via FoxyTunes

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thoughts Without Words: summer school

ok, I am going to try and beef up my post count during the summer and post regularly, being that I am not be hampered by Webwasher. So what better place to start off with then summer school. Summer school is pretty enjoyable. 6 weeks to cover about 7 chapters (when I am teaching Algebra B), that one summer where I did 13 chapters in 6 weeks...unreal, just unreal. The nice thing is that the pace isn't bad and there is plenty of time in class to go over and clarify the material.

I will also be teaching in my new room this summer. That should be pretty interesting as well. I haven't been in a class in 3 years...gonna miss that portable. I have my room arranged to hold 40 desks (class sizes are going up people) and I think it looks good...maybe one row will have some trouble seeing with a glare, but I will have to wait and see on that one.

I haven't had problems with parents in the summer, but who knows what this summer will bring. After the year of parents wanting more and more...I really don't know. I try to stress responsibility and accountability for the students. Those that can do it, thrive. Those that can't usually fail or get a D. I had one freshman parent tell me that their child doesn't do well in that kind of environment. I won't go into to it anymore...that's more of a Venting the Anger post, but I am hoping to avoid all of that.

next post will be about either the new Scrubs or maybe a spotlight on a band.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who Decides: mid-year albums of the year 2009

Well, obviously my work never unblocked blogger, but hopefully next year will be different. Not going to say much about 09, they were a great class and I knew a bunch of them through classes and it was my last year coaching. So I will simply move on as I do every year.

Onto the topic at hand, this has been a slow music for me this year. I have only heard a couple of albums that have blown me away. As I stated earlier, I am really looking forward to the second half of the year. So what has caught my eye...or should I say ear? (lamest joke I ever wrote on here)

1. The Sorrow - Origin of the Storm: this is classic metalcore at it's best. I'm talking Killswitch Engage good. Best surprise of the year and if KsE doesn't release a great album, this could easily top it.

2. Lazarus A.D. - The Onslaught: ok, so this is a remastered album with A.D. thrown on the end of their name. But the album sounds better than before and clearer, so why not mention it twice?

3. Icon in Me - Human Museum: this is what Mnemic's last album should have been, not that craptacular Passenger. Great sound very reminiscent of Mnemic's earlier stuff.

4. The Beneath - City of Lights: who? That's what I said when I looked at it, but The Beneath is basically a Protest the Hero type band, and I love PtH.

5. God Forbid - Earthsblood: solid, but nothing special

6. The Agonist - Lullabies for the Dormant Mind: sounds very very similar to Amaran in certain parts...that's a good thing.

7. Suidakra - Crogacht: more folk metal...pretty solid.

8. Crimfall - As the Path Unfolds...: imagine if Nightwish had a death metal vocalist you have Crimfall.

9. Darkness by Oath - Fear Yourself: solid melodic death metal album...generic, but good.

That's all that has caught my eye so far. Nightrage has released their album on their Myspace page and it sounds good. I really liked the dynamics of A New Disease is Born, but this one seems to be more straight forward like Descent into Chaos... and that's not necessarily a bad thing either. I expect the album to make my top 10 like their previous 3 albums did.

I don't expect more than one or two of these to make the end of the year list. That's it.