I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

May 09, 2013 - 1:36 p.m.

Reviving the British Folk Revival

It's been a frustrating day at school. I changed the time for my Finite Math final a month ago so they wouldn't have to take an 8:15 final. Many would have to leave at 6 AM to make that. I asked the class if anyone had a conflict if we started at 10:30. The room was free all day so I could pick any time slot. They all said it was fine. Now seven students have come to me with a conflict. The English final is at 10:30. Not one the students actually checked to see if there was a conflict when I asked. I would have made it 12:45 if I had known. I already had to come in Monday to give a precalculus student her final so I am having them all come in then. What is going on in their heads? Why wouldn't they check to see if they had a conflict? I can see one or two students not checking but not all seven.

I collected the take home test in Finite Math. These are the instructions I printed on them.

Read this before turning over!
Write the answers in order. If you want to come back to a problem leave a space for it.
Write one answer under the previous, not next to it.
a. b. c.
Use both sides of the page. Don't skip pages. Leave two or three lines between answers. You may keep the question paper. Staple all answer sheets together. Unstapled sheets will not be accepted.

In addition I told them that I'd collect the test in the beginning of class and that I'd take off 1 point for every minute they were late and showed them the stop watch function on my phone and said I'd set it going when I collected the test.

When I walked in today most students had already placed their test on my desk. Only one didn't staple it. Still why was there even one? I told them that I meant it that I wouldn't accept a test without a staple and that they'd have to run and get it stapled and lose a point a minute till they got back. One student brought a stapler which solved the problem. Did the student think I meant everyone but him?

Several students came late. One came 56 minutes late! He comes late every single day. He didn't do the test on a separate paper. He squeezed it into the blank spots on the question paper, the one I told them to keep to study from. He didn't pay attention to any of the instructions. The thing is that he's smart. He isn't just smart but he cares about learning. He asks good questions. He answers hard questions. He just has this self-destructive streak. I do too of course. I'm not openly defiant like he is, I know how to follow instructions, but I have my own issues. I decided to make an effort and talk to him out of concern, not yell at him for doing things wrong. I then talked to the admin about him and found that the school has a process for reporting students who need help. I made the report. I hope they have a counselor talk to him. That's what I asked them to do. He needs help from someone trained to deal with these things. I am not going to take the 56 points off his grade and therefore I won't penalize the other students either. I just won't tell them that till after they take the final and I give them back the test.

Last night was not frustrating for the most part. I wrote half my Precalculus final then went to this:

New frustration. Word lost all my macros but remembers the keyboard shortcuts to them. It also forgot my default font an even though it says it won't automatically change urls to hyperlinks it is changing urls into hyperlinks.

A lot of these people used to play in the Beat Goes On shows. I think Joe McGinty played them but someone at the show said he only did the Loser's Lounge, a similar series. Does anyone know the truth?

I've been to the Bowery Electric many times but not the map room. That is an odd space. There is hardly any room and the seats are awkwardly place. You couldn't see the stage from many of them, there was a piano in the way. The seats were all off to the side and many behind the speakers. There was hardly any standing room in front of the stage. Most of the audience was out in the bar where the music was pumped in but for the most part you couldn't see anything.

Now there was some frustration. There was the seating. I was the first one there and I got the only good seat in the house. I even got to put my eat up on the table in front me me. A bigger issue was the people in the audience, a bunch were annoying. One guy kept on trying to show me pictures on his facebook of a show I had no interest in seeing pictures of. He couldn't fine the album and made a great effort to show me pictures I didn't want to see. He showed me some others that I clearly didn't turn my head to look at but that didn't stop him.

On the other side of me was a guy that saw my wfuvcap and wanted to know why the djs pronounce Bruce "Cock-burn's" last name "coh-burn." I explained it's because that's the correct pronunciation. He then ask if "Bruce Cock-burn" was going to be playing in the area. So know that table I had my feet on? When I got up to talk to Pete and Maura people decided it makes a good seat. They moved the candles and glasses that were on it and sat down blocking the view of the people that were there before them and were in actual chairs. The guy that tried to show me pictures then moved there when somebody got up. I imagine it was because his sightline was blocked, But then he blocked my sight line but not all the time. Only when he was actually taking pictures with a flash. I like Fred's suggestion that there should be tasers installed on the ceiling to zap anyone using a flash. The thing is that he had a good camera and didn't need to use the flash.

Ok thats it for most of the frustrations. Just one left. You'll have to wait for it. An unexpected good thing happened. Phyllis was there! I haven't seen her in years. She's had health problems. She used to merch for the Kennedys and I'd only do it when she wasn't there. She also marched for Great Big Sea and Black 47. I used to see her at a zillion shows and now it's been years.

An expected pleasure was talking to Pete & Maura. You know I love The Kennedys. They are off for a tour of the British Isles so I's my last chance to talk to them in a while. Maura was looking particularly good. That's something of an inside joke. I have said that to Carey after countless shows and she responds, "Maura always looks good." Maybe I should try, "Pete looked particularly good."

The Bruce Cock-Burn guy asked what song I thought the Kennedys would do. Everyone did two songs, a British Folk Revival song and an original that would fit in. I was pretty sure they'd do "Matty Groves" I was right about that. He asked if I thought they'd do "Half a Million Miles" I knew that wasn't in the cards as it doesn't fit the theme. I am an idiot of not realizing what song they would play. It was "Anna and the Magic Gown." Maura said, "we dedicate this song to Gordon, he's been bugging us to relearn it for months." It is supposed to sound like a Fairport Convention song and it does. I adore it. It was the obvious choice especially for me. I didn't think of it because as you know I'm an idiot.

The other acts I wanted to make sure to see were James Mastro and Tom Clark. James went on pretty early. I'm blanking on what he sang. Remember I'm an idiot. There was some shuffling of seats and the people that ended up on my right were people I liked sitting near and I noticed they had a program of who was playing. It was a secret. Dont tell anyone. I saw that Tom was on a few acts after The Kennedys. It was getting late, after 10 and the show started at 7:30 and I had to get up to teach. The problem was that he didn't go on a few acts after the Kennedys. I finally gave up and left. I haven't seen Tom in ages and felt bad about that. The second time I ever saw him was at the Beat Goes On tribute to Phil Spector I wrote about yesterday. He's great and different than anyone else I see. I would have gone to the show to see him and James even if Pete and Maura weren't playing.

I knew a few people in the audience and talked to Eliot. He joked that he had some pictures on his phone he wanted to show me. He saw my facebook post about the guy sitting next to me. That's nice that I get to vent in real time.

Oh one more frustration. There was a late addition to the show a young Swedish woman who sang a Vashti Bunyan song. Forgetting that I refuse to admit that Vashti Bunyan existed. That's not the frustration. It was that two people decided to talk over her set and to talk so loudly that I head them without a mic as loudly as I heard her on the sound system. That doesn't deserve a taser but a laser zap. Permanent damage should be inflicted.

So I missed Tom and came home. It was a nice blast from the past. I miss The Beat Goes On. I miss Phyllis.

Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017

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Horvendile May 09, 2013
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