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
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
December 19, 2013 - 11:44 a.m.
I actually have lots to do today so I should write this. I was thinking of it was an off day but I was wrong. Hey there is a first time for everything. I'm not always right. But if you disagree with me, don't bet on that being one of the times I'm wrong.
Note that for now on all people of indeterminate gender will be referred to as "she." I gave up on flipping a coin as it's too time consuming and I am not going to remember which I used last so I can alternate. This is simple and helps make up for centuries of using "he."
I did not leave the house yesterday. I did not get dressed. The furthest I got was the kitchen. I spent the day either procrastinating or grading. So you know how I complained about how poorly my students were doing? I was wrong. Oh no, I was wrong again. But this was a teachable moment. It demonstrates you can't trust even my intuitional statistics. People, yes even me, yes I'm a person, come on stop giving me a hard time, where was I again? Oh right people's gut feelings on statistics are terrible. We have to many biases. Even if you are aware of the biases they are difficult to overcome without actually counting. This in fact accounts for a lot of prejudice. You think, "fakegrouparians are so rude." And actually believe they are ruder than others and notice every time one is. That's confirmation bias. There are other types of biases too. Some events are just far more memorable than others. One shocking disaster will make people overestimate risks. Something you witness will shape your gut feel of statistics than things you only hear about. The only way to know statistics is actual counting.
The median grade in the early better class was 78, in the afternoon it was 79! Out of two classes I only failed one student and I knew she'd fail. The grade distribution in the combined classes was
I have two reactions. The first is that I'm a helluva teacher. These students came in unprepared. The second is that I have to stop counting attendance. Their grades should not be this high. I know they don't know things that well. They have huge misunderstandings. That's why I thought they did worse. Sometimes even when they get the right answer I know they don't know what's actually going on. Grades have skyrocketed since I started giving them practice tests but understanding hasn't. They have mastered the art of passing a test while learning as little as possible.
As I didn't go out and I don't have real food in the house I did not eat well yesterday. My dinner was two cocktail bagel dogs and a peanut butter and sausage sandwich, how many of you just got nauseated? It's really good but not exactly the healthiest meal and I get the not taking good care of myself feeling when I do that every meal. It's great as a lunch or a treat. I didn't even make potatoes.
Today I will eat well. I have to do laundry and go to the Post Office. As I have mail in my PO Box I'll make the long trip up to school where my box is. Good thing that's the best post office. They are fast. Lines are so long this week. I also need to go shopping and I'm going to a concert tonight back in Brooklyn. Anyone want to join me for Toys and Tiny Instruments at the Rock Shop at 8?
It's been an interesting time for me emotionally. I've been feeling better since I wrote up my day as a fairy tale on Monday. Yesterday I peered into the future and could see something that wasn't disaster. I could get myself to feel what success in an endeavor would be like. I haven't been able to do that for a while. I say that I visualize everything but it is far more than visualization. I create in my mind all my senses and my internal emotional state. I have been blocked feeling the good things of late. It's so nice get that that back. I'm usually quite good at it. Doubts are creeping in. It's probably the way to bet, but it does no good to dwell on them.
I finished read Witches Abroad a few days ago. Terry Pratchett always gets my brain bubbling. That's why I love him. People always talk about how this group or that needs positive role models in literature. I know where that's coming from but I think looking at it that way is backward. What's would be best is to teach people to identify with others even if they don't share surface features, race, sex, religion, etc. Pratchett created two of my all-time favorite characters and they are both female, Tiffany Aching and Granny Weatherwax. One's a little girl and the other an old crone, (don't say that to her if you know what's good for you). They are both witches to their bones and I totally identify with them. I'm also in love with them, does that make me a narcissist? Granny is part of what's made me feel better. She makes me feel better about myself. Granny always feels good about herself. There's a wonderful line that I don't even have to get the book to get right. OK I do if I want to get the setup right but it will take too long so I'll just do the best I can.
Most people when they wake up in the morning go through a moment to find themselves. They ask "who am I?" Granny never feels like that because she knows who is asking the questionI am exactly like that and like Granny I wake up instantly with all my faculties. I might have trouble focusing on parts of me sometimes but I do know who I am, what I like, and what I want. I might have trouble putting it into words but I still know. And like Granny and Tiffany I think the way to deal with problems is rationally. Most of witching isn't magic, it's thinking clearly when others don't.
I said that Pratchett always get s my brain bubbling. There is nothing that I like or want more than that. I like people for all sorts of reasons but the people that do that are the dearest to me. It's the one thing that all the people I love and have loved the most have in common. They are all witches.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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