Friday, March 02, 2007

Ever since Simon and I put a deposit down on our house in Holy Cross, I have been spending an inordinate and really unacceptable amount of time looking at furniture and e-painting rooms online. According to this handy style-profiler, my furniture style is "eclectic." And I am most attracted to greens and whites. This may help explain why I've been dreaming of our "guacamole"-hued living room (the color is actually not very guacamole-y, but the Olympic paint manufacturers evidently seem to think so). Or why I love this couch. Or maybe not.

This is what I have been doing with most of my free time lately. I also discovered that a house down the street from us was requesting demolition for a parking lot, so I put on my persuasive-voice and emailed an HDLC board member and have since learned that, yay, the beautiful historic shotgun-double will NOT, in fact, become a parking lot. Still, it does gross one out to know that one's future neighbor would think that a good idea. The horror.

Speaking of horror...

Last night I went to see Justin Timberlake, and Pink opened. Pink was great. She's tough and foxy and I like how she mocks celebrity ("Stupid Girl"), and especially how she mocked the president last night in a song called "Dear Mr. President." The refrain went something like, "Let me tell you 'bout 'hard work.'" I was in stitches, and whooping, to boot, but the many North-shore-ites who'd travelled down from their McMansions in Mandeville were not impressed. Yet they had no problem bringing their tiara-clad 12-year-olds in for JT's "futureSEXlovesounds" tour. Again, the horror.

I'd not been to a big arena show like that since I was, myself, a young one at the U2 ZooTV tour. My, how things have changed. What struck me most was the presence of cell phone cameras. When Justin sidled up to one side of the stage, the girls were beaming and screaming, as they should be, but instead of grabbing at him, they pushed their cell-phone cameras toward him, trying to catch what promises to be a very grainy and crap-shot of JT's leg. It was as if the girls were more concerned with proving they'd had a brush with celebrity than in actually HAVING one. The record of the experience trumps the experience, itself.

The whole cell-phone affair made me think of two conversations I'd had recently. One was with some strange dude on Mardi Gras day who joined our walking bunch in the Marigny. He wanted to take my picture, and Simon's, and, well, EVERYONE'S, and he remarked that he felt as if he couldn't put his camera down. As a result, he'd have great pictures of Mardi Gras, minus the great memories that should accompany them. Them large memory cards and instant-delete-ability, he said, made it so he took endless, endless shots of, well, everything. We waxed nostalgic for a moment about the days of good ol' film, but both agreed that digital cameras are irresistible. Then, he found another subject and was off.

The other conversation is more of an on-going admonition from my bro. Both his fiancee and I take A LOT of digital pictures when we travel. Last summer we hiked together in the NC mountains, and when I reviewed my pictures, I realized that Paul had the same annoyed smirk on in many of the pictures. He's gotten on my case and Aalia's about over-documentation, and he and the Mardi Gras guy are on to something--we do seem to be missing out on actually LIVING life when we so obsessively try to document it. What is it about the relationship between memory and digital photography that has gotten us addicted to documentation? It's just weird, I tell you... weird. I'm sure there's a dissertation in all of this... just not mine.

In fact, here at school things have been looking and feeling rather bleak. My classes this semester are comprised of some of The Most disenchanted (and combative--a very bad combination) students I've ever had. I am ordinarily such a "Go Team" kind of teacher that I have really been struggling with keeping my own morale up as I try to get my students to come to life. I've decided to just devote myself to conferencing like crazy. It's easier to put on the charm and get my students engaged when I can question them individually.

Also depressing are the future prospects at UNO. I'm forever worrying about my future in spite of my boss's telling me not to. I was, after all, the last hired before the hiring freeze, so my head is always the closest to the chopping block. This morning I attended an English Department meeting where we generated ideas for student-recruitment. I love teaching and talking about education, so the discussions of guest-teaching at local high schools and marketing the English major actually do get me amped, but their undercurrent was nothing short of disturbing: we're having to have these meetings because the numbers are down (English majors are down by 1/3, post-K), and the falling numbers make my release all the more likely. I know that there will be other teaching jobs for me in New Orleans, but I love teaching at UNO, and after subbing for two of Simon's junior-high classes yesterday, I realized just how much teaching adults is a luxury. I'd do well with the JH kids--I don't take their crap--but I HATE having to deal with discipline issues. I'd rather take on disenchanted adults and find a way of inspiring them.

Anyhoo, I have many, many an essay to grade, and so I'm off...

Happy Friday.

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