I don’t want to think about how long ago I trumpeted proudly about my Fitness Goals and assured you and myself that by putting them on the internet I was guaranteeing that I wouldn’t fail this time. I don’t want to think about it because I have failed in the failingest kind of way, obviously.

I have started back up again, because I have a modest goal to meet. I want to look better in my wedding dress for our second anniversary than I looked in it in 2010. I plan to wear it out to dinner — entirely possible, since it was my second wedding and I wore an awesome red dress that I found at JC Penney’s, of all places — and I’d like to wear it sans a certain foundation garment. Well, actually, I’ll probably still wear it since it makes a nice line under the dress, but I want to wear for nice-line reasons rather than for flab-control reasons.

So I ran 3 miles in a total of 32 minutes. This is not a terrific time, but for my first time out since mumble I’m not going to beat myself up over it. It’s a start. As long as I keep it up, and while I have no reason to believe that this time will be different, hope springs eternal.

In other news, we watched The Walking Dead this evening — in a surprising turn of events, a zombie ate Dale. Sort of. The Pumpkin’s boyfriend was profane about this ending, and the Pumpkin objected loudly. Because I am a genius, I had already predicted that Dale would be eaten soon. This pronouncement followed this episode’s long debate about post-apocalyptic moral codes and the possibility that civilization has devolved to a state that is incompatible with the mores that these people used to hold. Since this is indeed the thesis of the graphic novels, I was not surprised to see it on the show. Dale clearly had to be killed, since he showed himself entirely unwilling to compromise his position as the poster boy for living life as they now know it in the same way that they lived life as they had known it. But I’m still sad about Dale. If they try to kill Glenn, however, I will cut a bitch.

Mundane occurrences this weekend include:

  • Painting my toenails a rich chocolate brown (to remind me of the delicious options that I gave up for Lent. Incidentally, I have combined the resumption of running with my giving up sweets for Lent (a hangover from my Catholic upbringing) to see if I can have a discernible waist again. We can but hope.
  • Cleaning my closet whilst trying to find my iPod (I was not successful and had to rely on the Pumpkin’s first-generation shuffle, which is the iPod of Last Resort around here).
  • Grading a load of neglected assignments. I celebrated their completion with some sparkling wine. Wine and alcoholic beverages are NOT things that I give up for Lent. Not because I’m an addict, but because it’s a thing that mr webbis and I bond over. Which sounds odd, but it’s part of our routine when we eventually get to see each other. Dinner, glass of wine, there you go. Also, see above: grading reward.
  • Wishing that Punxsutawney Phil weren’t a big, fat liar. This is the time of year that depresses me the most, and I spend a great deal of time scowling at the budding (now leafing, thank you) trees and the armies of smug robins that descend upon us once spring is firmly entrenched. Spring is beautiful, and I do appreciate the moto-riding weather, but an early spring mean an early summer, and that’s not good for anyone. I expect that summer will thump down upon us before May, in fact. I’m betting here and now that we will have our first 90 degree day in early April. You may send a nice bottle of Prosecco to me when I win our bet.
  • Watching “Doc Martin” on Netflix. On my phone, since my poor Mac is elderly and cranky. It casts a grumpy and suspicious eye on newfangled things like movie streaming…DVDs were good enough in 2006 and he doesn’t see any reason to change. Or to cooperate. I see my Mac as kind of a hoarder — he doesn’t like to relinquish anything he’s ever found or stored. As a result, streaming tends to bind him up, and I’ve yet to find the computer equivalent of Metamucil.

I think I need to go to bed….my brain is tired.

To my great sorrow (because I will be leaving a job I like and friends whom I will deeply miss but not because of the location because let’s face it, this place could be a lot better), as of July we will be living elsewhere. We sincerely hope that we will NOT be living in mr webbis’ current location, but I have been forced to accept that there IS a possibility that come August, I will be suffering the heat in a state that begins with L and ends in A and is filled with sadness and lethargy and Swamp People.

If that is indeed so, then this will become “A Bad, Bad Webbis: Life in Hell’s Waiting Room.” And no, I do not exaggerate. I do realize that New Orleans, for example, is a lovely, lively, and culturally rich environment.

That is NOT where we will be living. Not even close in any way.

Much of the state (that has been seen by my very own eyes) is a scary morass of yard trash and dilapidated roadways, crumbling curbs and rapidly-multiplying Wal-Marts (and their accompanying People). It is so culturally confusing to me, and I’m afraid that you have to be born into this mentality in order to flourish here. And by ‘here’ I specifically refer to the unnamed location to which we might be moving.

Please direct all thoughts, spiritual or otherwise, towards a brighter immediate future for us that does not include living in the Deep South.

First, let me say that I found this on ~MGS-Pandacide‘s deviantart page, so all credit there, and apologies if I am offending by sharing  Really sweet, and very in keeping with the Studio Ghibli ethos.

So Happy Valentine’s Day, courtesy of someone who is far more creative than I am.


In Japanese????!!!Miyazaki in Japanese! In the theaters! Yes! Japanese!

The Monkey is having a birthday in a couple of weeks, and it occurred to me that we should go see “The Secret World of Arrietty,” written by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli…we are BIG fans. We own “Spirited Away,” “Castle in the Sky,” “Nausicaa,” “Princess Mononoke,” “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” “Ponyo,” “Grave of the Fireflies,” “Whisper of the Heart,” and “Howl’s Moving Castle.” We have watched each of these multiple times, and although they have (mostly) good dubbed versions, we prefer the Japanese language versions.  Because we live in a not-large area, we have only ever seen the English language versions in the theaters. However, I thought that perhaps, for her birthday, we could make the trek to Dallas or Austin to see “Arrietty” in Japanese.


Look what I found:

YES. AWESOME.DUDE. This is so very cool I cannot explain properly. I have big plans for us for the next few months…starting with this week. Yes! “Spirited Away” in the theaters! We have to go!


Can’t. Wait.

I am still grading — part of the problem here is that I got caught by AMC’s showing of the awesomely-80s “Christine.” My justification for watching it is that I am also Doing Work. So sad.

Anyway, I have discovered why the Dallas ISD decided to take only the 5th-grade boys to see “Red Tails”. The movie is about pilots and flying planes, correct? Well, despite the fact that a living Tuskegee Airman was horrified by the decision (and said that his wife would be MORE horrified), there is an excellent explanation for why such a seemingly sexist choice was made.

According to Jennifer Rubin’s interview with Rick Santorum, women are problematic in combat situations because they pose an emotional danger for the male soldiers who will feel compelled to protect the female soldiers from harm. Santorum acknowledges that there are women who fly for the Navy and the Air Force, and he generously admits, too that “women are fully capable of ‘flying small planes.’”

Well! thefrogman’s Tumblr page has a pictorial rendering of that statement…that, plus Santorum’s (delightfully ludicrous)  comment, are clearly guiding the DISD’s decision regarding “Red Tails.” Obviously, those planes in the film are not small enough for The Ladies to be able to fly, so the 5th-grade girls have absolutely no need to see the movie and its Big Manly Planes. You see:

Lady Planes!

So there you go. Silly me…here I was thinking planes were ungendered. Guess Rick Santorum cleared that up. But his view of the world truly worries me.

Curse You, Wet Wood….

I am sitting here watching the last piece of wood turn grey on the edges as the black bits decide to fall through the grate. It is surprising how not-warm this room is, even with the fire and a quilt. I suppose when it’s 30 degrees outside and I have the heat turned off, that’s what you should expect.

And I spent approximately 543 minutes this evening trying to keep the fire going. This last batch of firewood (about 8-9 logs) that mr webbis brought with him last weekend is damper/less seasoned than the wood we’ve been burning this autumn and winter, and it’s been a grave disappointment. I had my Girl Scout-approved arrangement of kindling and firewood arranged on the grate, I set fire to the crumpled pieces of paper, and a satisfying blaze devoured the kindling and began to spread to the small piece of firewood.

Sadly, it blackened the center of the log in a feeble sort of way, smoked furiously, and refused to burn.

Crumpled up more paper, got more kindling, got the fire going again, watched it smoke, smoulder, and go out. Ninety zillion times.After building tiny fires under the sad log, I had to resort to the lighter fluid. And then I scrubbed my flammable hands.

Two thoroughly soaked logs later, I had A Fire. Logs 3 and 4 burned nicely without any need for incendiaries. And so here I sit, grading (except obviously not) and watching log 4, my final bit of firewood, turn into ash. I hate having to spend more time getting frustrated with the fire than I do enjoying it, so I might have to go buy some seasoned and bone-dry wood for tomorrow night. I have to enjoy my fires when I can, since next week the temperatures are getting up n the 60s. How dismal.


My weekends alone are not really very exciting. I have grading to do and research to do. I never get as much done as I think I will, and this weekend I forgot to bring home my students’ essays, so I can’t grade those until Monday. I had hoped to have them ready by Tuesday’s class, but life is a series of disappointments…

Are you riveted by my fascinating stories yet?

I should probably try again tomorrow….


I was surprised (because I always think we’re moving forward…silly me) to learn that the Dallas ISD took c.5700 students to see a movie today. Apparently, going to see the (very poorly written) movie “Red Tails” is equivalent to a history lesson about African-American contributions during WWII.

Matthew Haag, who writes a column for the Dallas Morning News’ website, received the following statement from Jon Dahlander, a spokesperson for the Dallas ISD:

Approximately 5,000 fifth grade boys in the district are watching “Red Tails.” The film is about the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African American pilots whose acts of bravery during World War II earned them the President Unit Citation in honor of their achievements.

Haag went on:

[Dahlander] said the district paid for the $32,000 field trip with Title I federal funds, which are earmarked for educating low-income students, and that the district’s Texas Education Agency monitor approved the field trip.

Dahlander said that World War II is part of fifth grade curriculum, and that teachers designed lesson plans to be used before and after the movie.

I hate to point out a flaw, here, but did anyone ELSE notice that Dahlander mentioned 5000+ BOYS? Do girls not need to know about the Tuskeegee Airmen?

So you ask yourself, do the girls get to go another day? And what are they doing? Fortunately, Haag has that information too:

Dahlander writes, ‘There is only so much available space at the movie theater, so the decision was made for boys to attend the movie. Girls stayed at school but principals were given the option to show them “Akeelah and the Bee”.’

Soooooooo….the boys see a movie about WWII, the teachers will take the boys back to the classrooms and then use curriculum materials to link the movie to the lesson, and the girls will be able to participate in the discussion through their POSSIBLE exposure to a modern film about a spelling bee?

And let’s not even discuss the utter laziness in using a BAD FILM to teach history. Why not spend some time in the library or watching a documentary or having a guest speaker or something that doesn’t involve going to a frickin movie in the middle of the class day? Why not use the $32,000 to provide classroom materials?

Why not use your flipping BRAINS, stupid stupid DISD?

I just….there are so many things I want to say about this, but I’m trying to keep my blood pressure within normal ranges. Can anyone help me here?

(courtesy, again, of Matthew Haag)

Jon Dahlander earlier today told me that the boys-only field trip to see “Red Tails” cost $32,000.

This afternoon, Dahlander clarified. The $32,000 only covers the cost of movie tickets for the 5,000 students. The district spent another roughly $25,000 on the buses to take the fifth graders to the AMC 30 Mesquite.

Schools also had to hire substitute teachers for the girls who stayed behind in the classrooms. Dahlander said he didn’t know how much that cost.

Dahlander said interim Superintendent Alan King and interim chief of schools Shirley Ison-Newsome approved showing the movie.

How, exactly, is the educational benefit of watching a lame movie worth over $57,000?

My brain is starting to boil…..

The “I hate my students” essay has long been a Chronicle of Higher Education staple, and for obvious reasons. The classroom can be a frustrating place, and sometimes a prof just needs to vent.

The problem with venting in the Chronicle, though, is that you open yourself up to rebuttal.

Meet Ann Hassenpflug.

Hassenpflug is a professor of education, and she doesn’t like it when her students bring their kids to class. Because she doesn’t like it when her students bring their kids to class, she has a “no kids in class” policy in her syllabus, and she gets mad when that policy is violated.

Fair enough. But some of the reasons behind her rule — a child might sit in a student’s regular chair  — seem trivial, while others arise from problems that could be easily dealt with in other ways.

I myself allow students to bring…

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