Category Archives: school

Rabbit Nike’s

Photo credit: Fresh to death. Khovd Museum

Photo credit: Fresh to death. Khovd Museum.

Last week there was an article in the news on a 1,500-year-old mummy in what looks like a pair of Adidas running shoes. If you didn’t get to see it, the above photo are what those ‘supposed Adidas’ look like.

When I saw the article, it made me think about my first semester at UNLV. My marriage had just gone belly up and I was trying to readjust to a life on my own. I found myself in Doc T’s Composition II (Argumentative Essay) class, a 37-year-old surrounded by students young enough to be my children. After writing almost every day to chronicle my experiences, I suddenly found myself knee-deep in schoolwork. I had completely slacked off on writing in my blog as I was researching and preparing to fight the battle of creationism versus evolution for my final 10-page paper that I would eventually title “Centerfield.” While I was procrastinating on getting my writing done, I came in here to unwind and air out a few wild theories that I couldn’t really put in an academic paper. The result? A pair of “Rabbit Nikes.” 

As I re-read the post, I laughed out loud a few times. Man, the things I come up with. 

Enjoy.


I like to think of evolution in terms of a pair of “Rabbit Nikes.”  So let’s use our imaginations and think about a caveman for a second, and here’s a visual to help out…

Wait, on second thought, let’s not…because all of the pictures I found on cavemen or Neanderthals…well, the pictures all have everyone’s “whatevers” hanging out and, no, I’m just not gonna go there.  No pictures of some caveman’s willow on my blog!

But that does illustrate my point quite the bit…let’s imagine our very nude caveman walking along.  He steps down and gets a sharp rock in the sole of his foot.  Now in today’s society, we’re liable to hop up and down like a jackrabbit hollering about the pain, but to Mr. Caveman…well, that’s normal.  Sighing at the fact that he’s taken one more sharp rock in the foot, he reaches down and pulls the rock from his foot and keeps going, accepting that it’s always going to be like that. He doesn’t even consider another option.

Now, let’s switch to a different caveman, same situation. He’s walking along, minding his own business when he gets a sharp rock in the bottom of his foot, but this time instead of sighing about it, removing the rock and going about his business, he figures he’s about had enough of his only means of transportation constantly being hurt by things on the ground that he inadvertently steps on (or in).  Just then, a rabbit quickly scampers by. He sees the rabbit…he’s hungry, so he figures, “Hey!  Food!”  (I’ll leave out the quip that the rabbit was probably the first rendition of “Fast Food”…go ahead and groan, it’s ok.) He chases down the rabbit, kills it, skins it and has a really good lunch…BUT then he looks at the leftovers…bones, fur (if he’s not eaten them in the process)…all sorts of stuff…so, he looks at the cut in his foot, looks at the fur, feels how soft it is and figures out that “Hey, that fur could be protecting my foot!”   So he takes the skin, wraps it around his foot, uses the remaining bones to fasten the fur together so it’ll stay on his foot, then gets up and walks on, not worrying about rocks on the ground anymore…our friend the caveman invents the first “shoe” of sorts, a “Rabbit Nike.”

Now, let’s put the shoeless caveman next to the guy with the Rabbit Nike’s on. Is the caveman with the “Rabbit Nike’s” going to be able to go a further distance when he walks?  Odds are he will.  Odds are that he’s got better survival skills than our caveman who just pulled the rock out of his foot and moved on.

Think about it. You’re a caveman. If you hurt your feet, how are you supposed to hunt and gather when you can’t walk?  Now I’ll concede that the caveman foot of prehistoric times probably had the sole of a Doc Marten because their bare feet were their only mode of transportation; the skin of the foot was probably extremely calloused and made to survive a sharp rock or two.  But now we’ve got this guy with the Rabbit Nike’s on…he invented something that he probably put on his girl, then on his children.  What happens to the feet of that family?  Odds are they got softer, because there was not a lot of damage being done to them; the damage being absorbed by the fur and skins that encased their feet.  They got to walk farther in inclement weather, (snow, ice) and generally survived a lot better.  That is a great case of evolution.  The next generations of the family of the Rabbit Nike inventor unwittingly had caused a change in their feet, with less damage being done to the foot and fur-lined insulation cutting down on illness, that means they could hunt and gather more and enjoy a better quality of life, thus leading to the dominance of the Rabbit Nike-wearing caveman.  That singular innovation passes down through the generations, changing the foot over millennia to what we see today when we look down at our feet to get out of bed, all because some caveman was sick and tired of getting a sharp rock in the sole of his foot and was smart enough to use the remains of his lunch to protect them.

Now while I’m using a male pronoun for the caveman, it could have easily been a cavewoman who invented the shoe. Actually, I’ve got odds that a woman invented the shoe because, I mean, come on, girls and shoes? Yeah…that whole thing had to start somewhere.

This, of course, is followed by the evolution of the first shoe salesman:

”You like fur?  You like no rock or thorn in foot?  You like to run fast to catch mammoth for big meal or run away faster when big cat tries to eat you?  Shoe made from rabbit.  Rabbit fast.  You be faster wearing Rabbit Nike.”

Evolution, isn’t it grand?

I’m sorry, I had to do it, it was too funny to pass up.

1,825

In any job interview, there is always one question that sticks out: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

When that question has come up for me in the past, I never really had an answer. Do any of us? We’re all so busy trying to survive, I don’t think a lot of us have the foresight to look that far down the road and think “THAT is where I want to be in five years.” It’s usually, “Am I going to be able to make rent next month?” or “I’m more worried about the next six months than I am the next five years. Who knows where I’ll be?”

1,825 days ago, a life-changing event happened to me that threatened to take me down for the count: I discovered my then-husband in bed with someone else.

I don’t care who you are, when you find the person you promised to love “until death do you part” inserting his Tab “A” into someone else’s Slot “B”, your mind will reel.  When it happened to me, I was decimated. My world as I had known it had crumbled and I was powerless to stop it or do anything about it.

When I asked him if he ever considered my feelings when I found out about his affair, all I received as an answer was a very icy, “No.” He could have cared less about how badly he had hurt me. As far as he was concerned, he didn’t want me anymore. He had found someone new and he was moving on, end of story. It became quite clear he had no ethical objections to abandoning me as he quickly left town to move across the country with his new whatever-she-is, only to impose on me to pay for storing his stuff until he was ready to come pick it up. He even left his car behind which I had to start once a week, a constant reminder of how little I meant to him, forced to care for someone’s things who could have cared less about me.

While the pain of the betrayal really rocked my world for the first couple of years after being left with almost nothing, I have given up on being bitter because it’s just a waste of time. Now, I just hope my ex-husband has found contentment with the choices he has made and now has to live with on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, every time I see a Basset Hound I quietly chuckle to myself along with Chihuahuas remaining  in my mind as footballs-on-feet just waiting to be punted through the uprights. I think of it this way: if I can embrace one of the darkest and most sinister betrayals I have ever encountered with that much of a sense of humor, I’m doing pretty good; it’s all that’s really left of the anger I have for my ex-husband. Oh, but that thing he ran off with? The only thing I have to say about that is that I’m really sorry no one ever told her that she came with a shelf life. Judging by his first two wives’ clocks, she’s only got a little bit of time left until she’s discarded for a newer model. I’m sorry if that disappoints anyone but just on principle there are some things I just haven’t had the ability to let go because no matter how hard anyone may try, there’s just no way to shove the manure back into the horse on that one. She asked for it, she got it.

In the aftermath, I immediately reached out to my friends for support. The very first person I reached out to was my close friend KP because he had gone through something eerily similar and I knew I could trust and rely on his wisdom.  As my voice trembled through relaying the events that had just transpired, KP did what he has always done for me, he ‘kept it real’. He told me that there was no time for a pity party, no time for blame, hatred or revenge, but that I had only one pressing task ahead of me: “to build a bridge and get over it.”

While KP and I spoke daily to help me get my bridge components together, my massive support structure, consisting of my virtual family from around the globe, immediately built a fortress of protection around me.  Their words of comfort  and encouragement became my strength as I endured the trauma that immediately occurs when you are forced to go through the process of marital demise, something I like to call “The Six Week Epic Suck”.

After that first six weeks and multiple discussions with family and friends, I realized that I was being faced with a character-defining moment: how I would handle the situation would define me and eventually tell me what kind of person I really was.  I had a choice to make: I could either ride the shame spiral forever and let what happened defeat me, or I could defiantly pick myself up by my bootstraps, keep on walking and build myself a new life while I worked with KP on the emotional blueprints of the bridge that would help me get over a marriage gone belly-up.

So, I broke out the metaphorical hammer and nails, requesting old transcripts and ACT scores. Then I did something completely nuts: deciding to build the remainder of my bridge out of education: I went back to school, gaining admission on appeal to UNLV.

With his long history in academia, I decided to speak with my ex-husband about what major I should choose. I relayed to him that I was at a crossroads between my two life long loves: advertising –  which was housed in the journalism school – or go with what I do effortlessly and naturally: teaching. He immediately suggested that I major in education, because it wouldn’t require the self-promotion that I would have to do to be successful in a career in advertising (that I had dreamed of since I was a little girl). At seeing first-hand how many times his decisions had landed him on the rocks by losing him more than a few jobs in the time I had known him, combined with his arrogant, condescending tone which had gained him more than a few political enemies and an evisceration by the local press, I thought it best not to follow his advice. I immediately majored in Journalism and Media Studies.

1,825 days later, I am surrounded by the souvenirs of a journey of self-discovery. I look on my shelves and see a collection of academic works that I have used to start my own home library; a pile of notebooks filled with hand-written class notes chronicling more credit hours than I can count; a drawer full of university t-shirts and baseball caps, and a collection of photos filled with memories. The most important thing that marks the closing of this cycle in my life is my new  academic degree, a Bachelor of Arts, in get this:

Journalism and Media Studies with a focus in Integrated Marketing Communications with a minor in Leadership and Civic Engagement.”

Could that degree title get any longer? It’s definitely a mouthful.

Allow me to translate: Journalism and Media Studies means that I’m a student of the mass media, that I’m also a critic of that same media and that simply, I can write news stories, feature stories and things you would find through any news outlet.

A focus in Integrated Marketing Communications means that simply, I know how to use social media effectively for marketing purposes. The fun part is that my AA in Graphic Design for the Web ties in nicely here. This also means I can help you choose the right social media channels and a pile of additional fancy stuff that if I kept writing about it, we’d be here all day.

A minor in Leadership and Civic Engagement means that I have learned the leadership techniques, methods and awareness that you would find in the skill-set of a really great CEO.

You know, I would have never guessed in a million years that when my ex-husband left that he would inspire an epic comeback. That five years later I’d be sitting here helping everyone figure out that even though I’ve got some fancy-schmantzy degree title, I’m still just me, only with a new skill-set in some cases, and an existing skill-set that I’ve just made even better. Not to sound prideful, but the things I was good at before have evolved into something more akin to a juggernaut.

I know lots of folks that have let the disintegration of their marriage destroy their lives. One of my friends drinks a lot and you can tell the experience left a hole where my vibrant, funny friend used to be. Another one of my friends nearly had a nervous breakdown because of their extremely messy divorce, only to have their finalized divorce papers act as Carte Blanche to immediately find a new spouse, then wondering why that marriage went down in flames too. Yet another friend is constantly terrorized by their ex, making them even afraid to leave the house or post on Facebook for fear of another round of cruel eviscerations on social media.

I see the aftermath of marital demise all around me every day. I’m no saint by a long shot because I’ve even been through a fiasco or two since my marriage fell from bliss and landed with a resounding THUD.  But what remains is one simple fact: When my ex hit the door, I went to work on myself. Kinda like the Six Million Dollar Man…”We can rebuild her…” because no one was going to do it for me, the only person that could do that rebuilding was myself – and I’m still not done.

Towards the end, there were moments where I thought I wouldn’t see graduation. There were days where people told me they seriously doubted I would succeed because of the massive setbacks I had endured on my journey. The most mortifying question came from someone extremely close who asked,

“Well, you are going to finish, aren’t you?”

When I heard that question come from the mouth of someone who is naturally expected to be supportive, I never came so close to decking someone I love in all my life. To me, that’s an insult because you can tell they really don’t know jack beans about me.

Case in point:

When I was a kid, a friend of mine found me crying after a really hard day of being viciously bullied. I had tried to hide somewhere where I thought no one would find me but he did. He looked down at me and said, “Sheri, are you okay?” He said that my response changed his life. He said my 15-year-old face just looked up at him, sniffled and said, “I’m not okay right now, but I’m going to be.”

That same friend used to watch helplessly as a pack of ignorant bullies made it their daily mission to viciously attack me, every chance they got, day in and day out for YEARS. I guess you could say they had refined their ignorance into a science, calling me all sorts of names, terrorizing my every breath, much less move, and overall making sure that they exploited every opportunity to make my life into a living hell. If you ever saw Pretty In Pink, think of the dynamic between Molly Ringwald’s character and James Spader’s, that’s basically it.

What astounded my friend the most is that those bullies, no matter how cruel they got, no matter how horrific their attempts, they never broke my spirit. Of course, the more those bullies failed in their attempts to break my spirit, the more vicious they would become; leaving my friend to remark that he had never in his life seen anyone take such vicious mental beatings over such a prolonged period and survive it.

Here’s the secret: the one thing I knew, which no one else seemed to catch on to, was the fact  that I had hope. I knew things in the future had a chance at becoming better, however unlikely it seemed at the time.  I knew, even then, that change is the one constant in the universe that descends on all of us, whether we like it or not. Like Doc Cat says: “Change isn’t always possible, it’s probable.”

Admittedly, the bullying I was forced to endure during my childhood was there for a reason. All of the pain, hurt and tragedy I have endured is all connected to this one beautiful moment. Without them I wouldn’t have the fortitude and heart that has inevitably carried me when I thought I couldn’t take another step.  When I set my mind to do something, I will never waiver, I will never quit, I will never fail.  God help the person who decides to pull the Darwin Award Winning move of telling me that they doubt my competence by stating I can’t do something, I’ll do it anyway just to prove I can.

If you push me down. I’ll get back up.

If you tear me apart, I’ll  put myself back together.

If you set me on fire and try to destroy me, I’ll just rise from the ashes.

1,825 days filled with love, hope and recovery – all mixed with a healthy dose of humor.

From Day 1, all the way to Graduation.

It’s me and Teddy, in the middle of the Mojave, dreaming of better days ahead.

I’m Sheri. I’m a wise fool. I’ve been through hell and back again, but I have persevered.

 

Life’s Movie Moments: Twister

Disclaimer: This one goes a little long. Make sure you go to the bathroom before you start. You may want to grab a snack and a drink on the way back.

Two weeks ago, I got a large manilla envelope in the mail from the county courthouse. Judging from the content of my last post, you can probably guess what was inside: a bundle of legal documents also known as my divorce papers.

When I first saw the envelope, I was expecting it to be the final divorce decree, so in my own way I dreaded opening it. But, I sucked it up and charged head first into the breach. In true Sophomore fashion, it wasn’t what I expected at all. Attached to the top of the pile of papers was a note informing me of something I would have never guessed would happen.

I think I may be the only woman in the world besides Helen Hunt’s character “Jo” in the film Twister to forget to sign the final page of her divorce papers.

As I read what was attached to the top of the document, I was mystically transported into the film with Jamie Gertz’s character of “Melissa” (complete with long Bassett Hound ears, surrounded by a snarling pack of rabid footballs on feet) looking at my ex and asking “Did she sign it? [pause] She didn’t!?!?”

Unlike Jo, I didn’t do it on purpose. It wasn’t some desperate attempt to keep my ex-husband in my life. I was just so stressed out by the whole process that I simply missed a page.

Upon realizing that my signature and address were missing from the most important page of the document, I filled it in. As I did though, there was a lump the size of a softball in the pit of my stomach. I was suddenly filled with a deep regret realizing that my life, as I once knew it, had come to an end.

But here I am, talking about endings again. Seems I’ve had a lot of them lately, but like the Myst Universe teaches:

The harder an end is to face, the more hope we take with us to the next beginning.

That’s really what I’ve got my mind focused toward right now, new beginnings. As I’m finding out, while the lessons of the Myst Universe are poignant and extremely worthwhile to keep in my pocket, I still feel like I’m caught in the middle of Twister.

If you remember from Twister, there is a scene where Jo’s whole gang of storm chasers is sitting around the table at Aunt Meg’s: Dusty’s going on about “imminent rueage” in regards to a rival storm chaser, Cary Elwes’ character “Jonas”, futile attempts to go head-to-head against Bill’s “The Extreme.” That line of conversation is followed quickly by talk about the Fujita Scale and the F5 tornado being called “The Finger of God.”

Remembering that movie moment reminded me of how fast and out of control my life has been since that April afternoon when it seemed my world had completely shattered.

If you don’t remember, here’s the clip:

My moment of regret is more akin to what Meg says to Jo: “He didn’t keep his part of the bargain. To spend his life pining for you and die miserable and alone.”

Every time I see the scene between Jo and Aunt Meg, I think especially of my Auntie June. I remember after my ex left, she had very similar words for me.

Meanwhile, back in the real world… After signing the last remaining page, I found myself downtown in a long line outside of the County Clerk’s office. In line with me was a man whose life’s work is serving divorce papers. He mentioned the diametric opposition of how men and women handle the news. He noted how women accept the situation with strength and composure while men crumble to pieces. I was quite surprised by the revelation, and it made the very emotionally troubling trip worth it as it made me laugh during a moment that threatened to make me cry.

It was then that a woman named Karen came out and asked me what I was there for, so I handed her the envelope and she proceeded to check it over and inform me that she would send it over to the judge’s office.

With that experience behind me, I got into my car for the trek home and the entire time driving, for the first time I didn’t find the need to dwell on it. I guess you could say that the bridge my friend KP helped me build to get over it was hard at work holding me up.

However, any way I try to slice it, I’m in what Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character “Dusty” calls “the suck zone” because I feel like a tornado has come and sucked me up into the middle of it.

As I’ve written a thousand times before, when you are handed a rough situation, you have to make choices. Whether we want to admit it or not, the choices we make when things seem at their worst is what defines us. The emotional risk we all fear becomes unavoidable and in that moment we either stand strong or we crumble.

Since I am a notorious (to the point of self-destructive) emotional base jumper, I guess it’s time for me to get a little extreme. I’ve made my choice and no matter how scared I get, I’ve got to walk up to the raging storm ahead of me, tell it to “have a drink,” chuck the bottle into the tornado and be just as amazed as everyone else when the bottle never hits the ground.

Inside the storm is my final semester at UNLV. I got all my classes lined up and during the time between now and May, I’ll apply for graduation, get fitted for my cap and gown; get my photos taken in my cap and gown (especially for Mom) then have my graduation invitations printed and mailed out. That’s all got to happen while I’m taking Photojournalism with an award-winning photographer, going through a stint as a Leadership Intern and wrapping it up with my Leadership Capstone class.

Simultaneously, the lightning and thunder will be coming from the pursuit and hopefully the public release of what has become my magnum opus, finally Chasing Tron to the most unlikely of places, going into the digital universe in an effort to help parents pull their child out of what I lovingly call “Console Quicksand.”

With everything else in my world feeling unsteady, the storm clouds over my work have seemed unceasing, that is until recently. As everyone knows, since stepping out of a movie theater in 1982, I’ve spent my life desperately searching for the Encom laser to pull me into the digital universe. The best way to illustrate it is “The Grid” monologue from Tron Legacy.

The Grid.

A digital frontier.

I tried to picture clusters of information as they moved through the computer.

What did they look like?

Ships?

Motorcycles?

Were the circuits like freeways?

I kept dreaming of a world I thought I’d never see.

And then,

one day…

I got in.

I felt like a complete idiot when I realized that my search had been fruitless because I didn’t see that it had been right in front of me all along. I had been looking for exactly what has evolved around me over the last ten years…and I’m lucky I guess because I’m the only one who can see it.

The hardest part will be taking the brunt of the storm head-on. I won’t lie, it’s going to hurt when it hits. It’s going to come from folks not ready to face hard truths I’m going to be revealing. I mean, seriously, when was the last time anyone enjoyed holding themselves accountable for the obstacles they have to admit to creating?

It’s truly hard to fathom the mere idea that my colleagues and I could possibly be the only people in the universe that will have a decisive impact in the current battle of man versus machine. I have the distinct feeling we’ll be the crew who tethers themselves to the water pipe only to have the F5 of modern technology pass over us as we watch our feet dangle over our heads as we get the rare privilege of watching the storm from the inside.

Just like the storm chasing crew in Twister, if we can get Dorothy to fly, I’ve got a distinct feeling, as a line in the film says, “We’re going to be very popular.”

It’s all down to a little more writing, long hours editing and revising, then going toe-to-toe with the most intimidating thing I’ve ever faced when I present my revolutionary idea to the world. All this with a ton of reading for my classes and homework to boot.

Outside of all that stuff, there are a few funny ironies in the film clip I posted above with even more “life imitating art” moments: First, my pals from the Hairier Legion Flight Team inside There.com will laugh their backsides off when they hear the character “Rabbit” say, “We’re going to take a little walk in the woods,” as I said that to them once while in the lead of one of our flights around the islands. And yes, I could hear them saying, “Mother of God…” just before promptly flying them into a no-fly zone on accident.

Secondly, the song “Humans Being” playing during the ‘walk in the woods’ scene by Van Hagar Halen literally has the line “like lemmings breeding” in it. You know me and my lemmings…the constant symbol of mindless following I’ve railed against now for over four years.  Yep, that’s in there too.

So ladies and gents, the only thing I can say for sure from my point of view: a storm is coming. As Dusty says,”It’s headed right for us,” only to have Bill reply,”It’s already here.”

Here’s my last dose of irony for you: If you keep track of astrological signs, I’m a Libra, one of the cardinal signs. Guess which element it rules over?

Air.

So, with that in mind, I always have to remind myself that there is always one phrase inextricably tied to air when it is in its’ excited state. You might know it best as “winds of change.”

Things are changing quickly and for the better, so for today’s song of the day, I’ve actually chosen two. From the Twister Motion Picture Soundtrack: “Humans Being” followed by what is argued by some as Eddie Van Halen’s finest instrumental, the Grammy-nominated (perfectly titled for today’s post): “Respect the Wind.”

90’s Nostalgia

Ok, let’s put this into context.  Since I can’t publish this post until after the competition, I’ll date it for you.  It’s February 13, Whitney Houston died yesterday and I’m knee deep in research for the NSAC competition.

The last few weeks have been about nothing but finding the one thing that connects Nissan to the Millenials.  We found it.  Everything for the Millennials right now is about the nostalgia that these young people are now experiencing.

In your 20’s, you get to look back on all of the fun things that happened in your youth, from the toys you played with and the activities that you participated in (like playing outside) to the boy bands you loved. For me, I had a love for Duran Duran.  I was torn between John Taylor and Nick Rhodes.  As a teenager, nothing said “Rebel” to me more than a boy that had the courage to wear eyeliner and still be a man’s man, so I’ll just leave my nostalgia trip into my teens right there.

As we all know, as I hit my 20’s, I became a hippie revivalist.  I love bell bottoms, Jimi Hendrix, the whole gamut all the way to wanting my own Summer Of Love.  It’s a very tangible emotional connection to me because my rebellious nature enjoys their anti-establishment view of things.  Along with that, being a hippie revivalist of the 90’s, I was also into the grunge scene from Mother Love Bone to Pearl Jam and Nirvana.  (I still love Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters, who doesn’t?)

Now comes the comedy, which brings us to my activities for the evening.  I just got done watching videos of the Spice Girls, *NSync, The Backstreet Boys and a few other 90’s tween bands.  Ok, someone call the dentist, I think I have cavities and a severe case of sugar shock going on.  By the way, my gaydar totally tripped off when I watched Lance Bass…how anyone couldn’t know that kid was gay back then is beyond me, but like I say, I don’t care if you’re blue, green, aquamarine, gay, straight, whatever, I’ve got respect and love for you all the same so it doesn’t matter if that kid was gay or not, it’s just surprising that people didn’t figure it out until he came out.

Oy veh.  I’m holding on to Eddie Vedder’s Doc Marten’s for dear life.  I have a severe need to cuddle with a piece of Kurt Cobain flannel as well.  Mid-way through going through the hundreds of vids on YouTube, I had to boot up “Smells like teen spirit” to even get a rational view of the world.  I am absolutely just mortified and repulsed by all of that sugar rah-rah.  Matching suits?  Ok, yeah, The Beatles did it, but oh wow, my 40 year-old body can not handle watching that enormous expanse of mass media induced sugar.  I dare you, go back and watch a few hundred pieces of tween media from the 90’s and I swear to you your teeth will hop out of your mouth, look at you and say, “Really?”

I mean, it’s bad enough that we’re going through Pokemon, but to hear grown men, I’m talking 22-year-old men, swooning over Tommy the Green Power Ranger, it’s enough to make me want to vomit.  I cannot believe what is coming out in the focus groups I’ve been doing.  It makes me want to run screaming like a madwoman into the night going, “NO!  No more!  I can’t take it!”  Seriously, I’m beginning to believe their whole lives were sponsored by some toy or some boy band.

But then, oh yes, I had to hear from my sweet darling Amanda (who I love dearly) say, “If *NSync put together a reunion tour, I would BUY THAT TICKET.”  When she said that, I nearly keeled over.  Oh, my body internally convulsed and I prayed for the ’03 Mitsubishi Eclipse commercial featuring Dirty Vegas’ “Days Go By” and remembering sitting on the balcony of The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel surrounded by movie and rock stars, watching The Eagles at the hotel’s opening.  By the way, watching The Eagles live totally rocks.  Don Henley on drums for the win.  Ok, for all of you Gen-X’ers who need a bit of help, here’s a link to Henley’s “Boys of Summer” to ease the sugar shock.

Don’t get me wrong, while the other students in my class were mere tweens dreaming of getting their parents to take them to a Spice Girls concert, I was impersonating Baby Spice at the nightclub I was working at, in a dance team skit for “Wannabe.”  This was of course followed up by me getting up and doing a solo as Meredith Brook’s “Bitch” just to get the sugar sloughed off my body as quickly as possible.  But getting up and doing an edgier song was never enough, I had to follow it up by raving to some of the great electronica of the late 90’s.  Oh yeah, when I booted up the Spice Girls tonight, my body involuntarily convulsed with all of that sugar going on.

It’s not easy being 40 and going down memory lane with these young people.  I want to keep my mind open, I really do, so I did my best to stuff all that sugar down my gullet without throwing up, but oh man, it was a rough one.

On their list of things they love from their childhoods I could understand, like No Doubt or Third Eye Blind.  Those I could get into, after all, who doesn’t love Gwen Stefani?  But things like Pogs, Arthur, The Magic School Bus, Rugrats, Doug and other things just flew over my head.  Sailor Moon?  Really?

I guess I’ve gotten old, or simply my love of all things “groovy” go over their heads just as much as Tamagotchi goes over mine.  When they said “Tamagotchi” in the focus group, I went “WTF’ie?”  Even after Wikipedia’ing it, to the shame of my technojunky background, I still don’t know WTF it is!  LOL

Yeah, their sense of nostalgia is completely different from mine and I’m doing my best to embrace it.  My fave though is my gal Lizzie who, when I asked for soundtrack cuts, gave The Spin Doctors and 4 Non-Blondes.  Bless you Lizzie.  Bless you.

But, I’ll cap this off with the commercial idea that sprang from my head after hearing Amanda wanting to buy a ticket to an *NSync reunion show…it’s my idea of a perfect Superbowl ad to kick of a campaign.  I’ll leave it to you to judge it.

Fade up:
A girl driving an orange *NSync themed Nissan Versa pulls up to a stoplight, girl bops to the sounds of the song “Bye Bye Bye” as the radio blares the song and out the rolled down car windows.
Another car pulls up, this time a black and blue Backstreet Boys themed Nissan Versa pulls up, the sounds of the song “Backstreet’s Back” come out of the speakers as the radio blares the song.
Each girl has a small photo of their boy band icon framed and attached to their sun visors.
Each girl lowers the visor, blows a kiss and says a line to the photo, disparaging the band supported by the other car.
An “imaginary” Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys appears in the passenger seat of the Black Versa, looks at the driver and says, “You’re not going to let her get away with that, are you?  Show her what it’s like to be a part of the Backstreets.”
An “imaginary” Justin Timberlake of *NSync appears in the passenger seat of the Orange Versa, looks at the driver and says, “C’mon baby girl, you can take her.  We’re *NSync, you and me.”
The “imaginary” passengers disappear as the two girls glare menacingly at each other, revving the engines of their cars, getting ready to drag race when the light turns green.
As the light turns green, before the girls can hit the gas, a Nissan Leaf goes flying by both of them with Britney Spears’ “Oops, I did it again” blaring out of the stereo.
Logo fades in:
Nissan. Innovation for You.  Innovation for All.
Fade to Black.

I don’t get to write that ad for competition because I’m not on the “creative” team.  Oh well, at least I get to write it for my Ad Copy-writing class.  Do you think an ad like that would go viral?  I’d say yes and I’m positive Amanda would hit “share” on Facebook in no time flat.

But that ad will never see the light of day besides to you nice folks.

My semester thus far can be summed up in a single word: Stymied.

Mid-Term today

Well, I spent all weekend reading, re-reading, quizzing myself, then reading some more for my NV School Law mid-term.  Doc McC says it’s going to be hard.  Well, in 3 hours I’ll know whether the course content stuck with me or not.

See, the whole thing about NV school law is that really, it’s the awareness that counts.  It’s valuable to know that law cases like Lemon v. Kurzman and a whole host of others exist.  I mean, they named a test after the Lemon Case, in which, and this is one I had to memorize…the Lemon Test:

  1. secular purpose
  2. doesn’t advance or impede religion
  3. no excessive government entanglement with religion.

Ok, basically, all it means is that if you’re teaching and you run into a sticky religious topic, you should really avoid it or if you’re going to tread on that ground, you have to make sure that you don’t violate any one of the 3 parts of the Lemon Test.  It’s really supreme court fodder, but it’s there just in case someone steps on their whatevers.

I’ve gone over fancy schmantzy vocabulary words like “Certiorari” which I turned into a mental cue called “Sure we’ll hear ya”, all it means is that you’re granted a hearing by a higher court.  Then there’s “Stare Decisis” which I call “Stare at the Decision”…it literally means “Let the decision stand”.  Then there’s Per Curium and that one, hell…I can’t make a mental cue about it no matter how hard I try…and it’s not sticking well, that’s the one that means that it’s an opinon of the entire court as opposed to an opinion rendered by a single justice.  How the heck do you make a mental cue out of that?  Well, I’m going to have to take my chances with that one and thank the gods that it’s a multiple choice and true/false test, hoping I’ll know it when I see it.

My school law class often makes me think about my pal Kathy.  She’s a paralegal along with being my surrogate mom.  How she knows this stuff day in and day out is beyond me.  But the one thing I find so peculiar about the whole “Law” thing is that it’s really all about common sense and simply lawyers get into the mix when someone’s common sense flies out the window.  I mean some of the stuff I’ve heard about in my school law class has been enough to make me absolutely blanche.  Some teachers just have their heads fly clean up their own asses.  Take for example this one lady teacher who made lewd comments to her student.  I mean what the hell was she thinking!!!  I would have not only thrown the book at her, I’d have smashed it over her head a couple of times.  The finding in that case?  “You have to maintain a distance from your students to remain impartial”.  No shit, ya think?  Oy veh.  But that’s the thing about common sense, it isn’t all that common.

Doc McC says that teaching is all about decision making, that we make more decisions in 20 minutes worth of class time than a principal or any other school administrator makes in their entire day.  Somehow I think that’s really true.  Teachers are at the front lines and we get paid like shit to make sure that the greater good is served, creating an educated society.

But over the last week, I’ve done nothing but go over constitutional amendments, fancy schmantzy words, been aghast at cases like Plessy v. Ferguson…oh and that one is just evil.   But then there are the ones that give you hope…like Brown v. Board of Education that finally integrated the schools.  Now to me, Brown v. Board is another common sense one.  I don’t give a shit if you are blue, green or aquamarine, we are all HUMAN.  H-U-M-A-N.  This means that if you’re a breathing human being, you deserve an education.  Separate yet equal?  Holy Lordy…that’s just ugh!!!  You can’t have separate yet equal as the courts found in Brown, that’s so violating the 14th amendment, it’s just common sense that everyone should get equal everything.  Tell me I can’t teach a child because of their skin color, religion or whathaveyou and you’ll see me get into Mother Bear mode and I’ll rip someone’s fool head off!   Every single child born should be given the best possible education.  That’s putting tools in their hands to create a great life, to find happiness and all the other good stuff that the founding fathers put in the Constitution…

What REALLY chaps my ass about the whole thing is the pay. As a teacher, I’m charged with having the responsibility to provide the best education I can.  I’m shaping the future, one student, one hour, one class at a time and that kind of dedication in Southern Nevada will get me $36k a year.  $36K for a job that money can’t even begin to possibly measure its effects on humanity.  I don’t get it.  Instead of a lawyer or even a valet parker here in Vegas making 100’s of thousands of dollars a year when they really don’t come close to how much impact they make on humanity as a teacher does…oh come on!  Then we’re expected to pay for all of our teaching supplies?  We pay to be a teacher while some valet parker just parks a car and makes 10 times what we do.  THEN if you want to move up the pay scale, you have to keep going to school.  Now I can understand the need to go and take more classes or workshops or clinics to stay current with the materials, new teaching techniques and whathaveyou, but it’s ludicrous to have to pay over $1000 a year just to make sure you move up the pay scale.  The retirement benefits are nice, but whew, you sure do have to be dedicated and love what you do to be a teacher. 

Personally, I think we’re worth a hell of a lot more than they pay us, but….there is a small matter of quality.  Now there are some teachers out there that suck.  Let’s face it, they are awful.  But, then for those who know me, know how good I am in a classroom.  I teach to the triple threat, the auditory, visual and tactile student.   I capture imaginations and make them work!  I teach with laughter…because if you’re not laughing you’re not learning.  If I can get a 60 year old to learn Photoshop and be proficient in it or if I can take an ADD disabled student and give them a better life, hell man, I’m further ahead of the game than most others.  But to be able to do what I do with no training at all, then ice the cake with the degree that will give me a license to teach and all of that knowledge put on top of my natural gifts?

Scary.

But, gotta jet, I’ll be back after the mid-term to tell how it went.