Bah Humbug!

Ah yes, and just as soon as even the faintest glimmer of my former self decides to resurface than the universe must go and wee in my cheerios once more.
My mother just called to inform me that my grandmother, my last surviving grandparent, has just been diagnosed with a malignant throat tumor.
My grandmother has a habit of falling ill around my birthday. Twice she's been hospitalized on the day of or right before. This has nothing to do with me and more to do with the strain she puts on herself to decorate and prepare for Christmas. But this year she is actually, and perhaps mortally, ill.
She will have to go in for a tumor removal and six months of radiation therapy. Yep, Merry Christmas.
Just in time for my birthday, and considering how my mind works, I don't really need the reminder about my own mortality. Personally I do everything I can every day in an attempt to forget that very thought.
So it seems, on top of everything else, that Mere Lapin and I might have to go back to BackWater PA for one last moonshine swillin, tooth missin, wife swappin, cousin kissin, yet again let's remind of how much a loser you are because you can't even get a boyfriend never mind a husband Christmas.
Ever wonder how Ebenezer Scrooge got to be so mean? I don't.
Not anymore.

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Those Who Can't Do
According to this CNN article , Harvard was considering one of the largest overhauls of its curriculum since the 1970s; it was considering requiring an all undergraduate religion course.

My favorite part of the article is, "Efforts to revamp Harvard's curriculum, which has been criticized for focusing too narrowly on academic topics instead of real-life issues, have been in the works for three years." (emphasis added)

Um, it's an academic institution. You're not supposed to go to Harvard to learn how to balance your checkbook or how to get a good credit rating. Academic institutions have historically NOT focused on "real life issues." That's what real life is for. Of course, with "real life" eroding at an exponential rate in favor of video games, reality tv, ipods etc, it would make sense that academic institutions would be called upon to aquaint students with what they should be encountering on the off chance they should, you know, actually leave their cellphones at home for a few hours.

Even more interestingly one of the proposals included, " a course requirement on 'what it means to be a human being.' "

I used to talk about that with my students at NYU, and I ran into the "What the hell do we care about that?" response. Now here we see a disparity. In my mind, there is nothing more real life than contemplating what it means to be a human being. To my students, this was "narrowly academic" because understanding what it means to be a human being was going to a. help them get into a club with a fake driver's license b. get them a date with the dream person of their choice c. get them a cheap piece of ass d. get them a job with a six figure salary.

When I went to Metafilter to see if they had some sort of response to this article, I found this instead. For anyone who has wondered why I have an anonymous blog, or used to, this article might help you out a bit.

Now do you understand why I tell my students, "If I talk just one of you out of pursuing a career in education, I'll have done my job as a teacher."

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"Are you gonna remember this tomorrow Eddie, or is this, you know, one of your more biodegradable moments?" -Hurly Burly
And just when I get the brink of throwing myself under the six train, the universe steps in and says, "Um, no. You aren't allowed to do that just yet."
Last weekend when I was at Chez Lapin, I ordered a pair of Volatile brand high heels from Shoemall. Buying shoes is, for me, only slightly less depressing that modeling swimwear under fluorescent lights while Elle McPherson changes in the stall next to me. The foot deformity is only part of the fun-being a size five certainly doesn't help. But Volatile makes short wide shoes that are very comfy. So I took a risk and ordered them to go with my birthday ensemble.
Yesterday they were at my door. I tried them on. They fit. To me, this is only slightly less exciting than finding out that my snuggly blanket from childhood is actually the Shroud of Turin.
Then I managed to shuttle myself to Tin Lizzy's Christmas Party. There is very little that some good food, free liquor, and a pack of doting old gentleman can improve upon. They cheered me up and after six hours of drinking I was happy and satisfied-having fended off a panoply of suitors. I slept late to wake up to a happy sunny day and whole pack of concerned comments. ( We shall ignore the mountain of grading and calculating that await me later today. Run away! Run away!) I do, however, continue to need sleep.
This is not to say that I might not completely decompose later today. But I do feel better. And it does mean a lot to me how many of wrote comments so that I didn't continue to drink martinis out of the toilet.

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But the mule, he just doesn't get it
My stats keep going down. What is it you people want? Have I changed so much in the last six weeks? I have become that unentertaining? I'm too tired from being depressed to put together a decent post. I'm doing my best to hide it people, but every night I have to go out and drink so that I can sleep. And then get up four hours later and come in and teach and grade and be coherent and not talk to my friends about falling apart-not talk about the nightmares and the crying jags and throwing up every morning- because they are bored with it and trying to find happy upbeat interesting things so that some readers will come back to the blog, but the stats just keep going down.

And this nightmare depression just keeps getting worse with every day I get closer to my birthday.

I fear I may have jumped from depression to anhedonia. Even blogging, I can even get enthused enough about to put together a post. I think from time to time, "Oh I should post that," but when the time comes I just look at the screen and I don't really care. I should write my oh so eloquent and rage filled rejection of Scientology ( not based on the normal objections to the religion), but I just can't find it in me to do it.

Who is this other person I created? Out of the ashes of Eric, I gave myself a new name and to some degree a new identity. Here I am not limited as I am in the real world-I don't have to worry about physical limitation-if I never mentioned it here, you would never know that I have to deal with it at all. I could have created myself new in this space. "O brave new world that has such people in it." And instead it's the same old me-just with a slightly different name. Juliet was right-What's in a name? Apparently nothing.

Today as I wait for my students to finish their exams, I look out the window and think I made a mistake six years ago. Six years ago when every day was a battle to stay alive, I thought I was doing the right thing. As miserable as I was, as much as I wanted to die, I still got up and went to fucking work and graded the papers of those students and sat through meetings in which I was paid in cookies and cried at my desk and cried on the subway and cried in my apartment and cried in the bars until one would think there wouldn't be any more tears in me. But I fought my way through it. I went on anti depressants. I changed my therapist. I joined a gym. I volunteered. I kept myself busy. Believeing that I was doing the right thing. Hoping that things would change.

But now I think I might have been wrong. What have I done in these last six years? Have I been able to write anything other than this blog? Do I have the strength to even put together an essay? A short story? I have the ideas and the talent. What I don't have is the strength. Have I helped my students? The motivated ones didn't need me. And the rest, well, they were just going through the motions. I live in the same place. What have I done? What have I accomplished? I survived. But I don't believe that in of itself is a virtue. Sure on a biological level it's what you are supposed to do. But I don't place my faith in science any more than I do in religion.

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More in the Christmas Mood

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Originally uploaded by arts enthusiast.

Courtesy of Flickr, some vintage christmas pics from 1945-1970.

Put on some Bing Crosby and enjoy!

You can also go here to see Mere Lapin and I cut our tree and decorate it.

Ah yes, tis the season for me to wield a saw. I love holidays that involve weaponry.

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Something to Keep You Entertained While I Give an Exam
So last week I met a pornographer. Ok well a guy who owns to two pay per view adult channels. Decent guy. The type of guy who if you didn't know what he did for a living you'd think would be working at some tech company developing the next wave in entertainment. His glasses are more geek sheik than hustler.

Last night he calls me and asks me out for a drink. I have to grade like a lunatic, and I know I'll want a drink afertwards especially since I can't hang out in my apartment while it's being painted so I have taken to grading in bars. (I only drink soda WHILE grading and only drink after I'm done. No really.) So we figure out time and place of rendez-vous and then I go off to grade like a lunatic. A few minutes later I get a text from him, "Would you like any free porn from our library?"

I'm sure the boy posse will be putting in their orders later today.

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Because we need a little christmas
Having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit? Trust me, I understand. So here are some things to help you. Winterbells is a game as addictive as crack, but free in which you help a little rabbit hop from silver bell to silver bell. If that isn't christmas-y enough you can always deliver presents as Santa Claus. (Both games courtesy of Orsinal.)
Although the best Christmas album ever is a Charlie Brown Christmas (by the Vince Guaraldi Trio), for a toe tapping good Christmas album you might want to go with a New Orleans Christmas.
For unusual gifts for the woman in your life you might want to check out Pixel Girl Shop, Cotton Candy Vomit, Lola Staar, or even my own Bad Bunni Boutique.

Can I get that gift wrapped?

new uploads - 353
Originally uploaded by guntherjosefrank.
The perfect man for the bad bad bunni in your life.

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