Blogging About Blogging

I haven’t been posting all that much lately. Partly it’s because I’ve been really busy and really tired when I get home from work. It’s been this way for months.

Also, I feel that my standards for what I have posted lately have been too high. When I was unemployed (underemployed) I had a lot more time to write blog posts. I could put a little time into pre-writing and editing before I actually wrote my posts. Since I don’t have the time or the will to do that, I often don’t publish.

But I’ve decided I’m not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I am going to go back to writing and blogging more frequently. They will be less polished, some of them might even be lists. But I want to do that.

My job at work has made me feel disconnected from myself. I am doing something that I never thought I would do, or could do. I am getting damn good at it, but I feel as though I no longer know who I am to a certain extent. I am hoping that blogging, even if it’s just making lists of my thoughts (the way I used to) will make me feel more connected to myself.

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Japanese Bridge by Claude Monet


I saw the exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of art a few weeks ago; I may go again a few more times. As a member, I get in free. :)

There were so many paintings that I wanted to steal. Since I can’t steal Claude Monet’s paintings, I might as well post one here. :)

When I saw the triptych of Water Lilies united, it was so beautiful I nearly cried. I hope everyone gets to see something at a museum that nearly makes them cry. You haven’t lived otherwise.

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Haydn Cello Concerto Number 1

I listened to this at the Cleveland Orchestra a few months ago; it was a remarkable experience. I got the cheapest seats I could, $25 in the second row. Supposedly, the sound is better in other parts of the Hall. (I’m not rich enough to know.) I don’t care; I am glad I got to watch the soloist up close. It was a remarkable experience.

At times, when he was not playing, he was sitting back with his eyes closed. He had a pleasurable, zen-like expression. When he began to play, his face would come alive. It was passionate, angry, even comical. All through it, I could sense the sheer physical and emotional exertion that it took to play at such a high level.

I knew the soloist was experiencing the music on a higher plane than I ever could; that is probably for the best. But it was still a remarkable experience nevertheless.

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A Childish Complaint

I still remember one of my favorite shows as a child, Under the Umbrella Tree , a show with a puppet gopher named Gloria (I think.) I still remember an episode where she was saving money for something that she wanted. In the episode, she struggles to save at first because she does not rein in her spending, but she quickly saves a lot of money (for a child gopher.) The climax of the episode comes when she has exactly enough to buy her desired object, only to have her friend come to the door selling cookies. Gloria has to decide whether to buy the cookies or buy the object for which she has been saving. She anguishes over the decision but finally refuses to buy cookies.

Oddly enough, I still remember that scene. Moreover, I remember how I felt watching that scene. I felt angry. Why should Gloria have to choose between having the cookies and the toy (or whatever she wanted)? Shouldn’t she be able to have whatever it is that she wanted, whenever she wanted it?

This scene, in retrospect, was a painful introduction to one of the most basic concepts of economics: humans have unlimited wants, but limited resources. I hated it then, and I hate it now. Every time I go shopping for clothes, and I realize that I cannot buy every single item I want in the store, and the little girl in me feels angry.

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Erwin Schrott, “Madamina, il catalogo è questo”

This is from Don Giovanni.

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Unemployment, ie What I Did Not Write About: Interviewing for Substitute Teaching Positions

I want to stress for clarifications that the events described in this series took place between 2013 and 2014.

I went to my first interview for a substitute teaching profession a little over a week after I had been laid off. The school was very different from the school I had been working at just two weeks before. This was a traditional public school in an upper middle class neighborhood.

Before the interview, I had picked up my copy of The First Days of School from the library. I wish I had heard of that book before I started teaching. In the book, I recognized many of the mistakes that I had made. However, given my current state of mind, I probably should not have read certain passages. Throughout the book, the writers compare effective teachers vs ineffective teachers in a series of charts. Once again, I recognized myself in the ineffective teacher. There was nothing wrong with the charts themselves. Even so, the charts were not helpful because of how I took them. I took them to be characteristics of intrinsic teaching characteristics. They were not. They were lists of effective and ineffective teaching behaviors. There is a difference. Handing out bell work to students is not a innate characteristic. It is an action. A person can hand out morning work to students, no matter the person’s character and disposition.

I was surprised to discover that an interview for a substitute teacher seems to be largely a formality. I was asked a series of questions, some of which I had answered in my interviews the summer before. This time around, I felt myself struggling. In the summer, my answers were enthusiastic and confident. My answers were now uncertain and disinterested. Perhaps I was overly critical, but it did not seem to matter. Immediately after the interview, the women took me into the room with the secretary and I started signing contracts and filling out tax forms.

I would be able to start as soon as I was finger printed.

This process was repeated at a local employment agency for substitute teachers. I was asked to come in for an interview with a packet of papers filled out. This packet of papers included all of the tax forms needed taxes and payroll.

I was looking forward to working as a substitute teacher. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get a foothold into schools and to improve my skills. All that was left was to wait for my clearance from the FBI. In the meantime, I committed myself to reading books, watching movies, going for walks in the park, and trying to relax.

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Films About Women 33

1 Proof

I saw this play back in college at the Cleveland Play House, Cleveland’s Tony Award winning companies (which finished its 99th season with Fairfield, which I saw twice). It was a very enjoyable show, well worth the time my college roommate and I spent waiting at the bus stop. I can’t give you that experience, but I this film does a good job of capturing the spirit of this play. Gweneyth Paltrow plays a young woman who has devoted herself to caring full time for her mentally ill father, a mathematical genius. When he dies, his daughter has an opportunity to come into her own as a mathematician. However, life, unlike numbers, are far less certain.


The play (and film) is called Proof, which is both ironic and fitting because there is a certain amount of ambiguity in the play. The story deals with themes of madness, genius, trust, and love. The characters search for proof, well aware that it may not exist.

2 The Accused

I have to give a trigger warning with this film. This film has an incredibly long rape scene. I’m serious, it seemed endless.

Jodie Foster won a well deserved Oscar for this film playing a rape victim. When she unleashes her fury at the prosecutor for making a deal with the perpetrators, the prosecutor responds seeking a daring indictment; she will charge the witnesses as accomplices to the rape.


The film tackles the subject of rape and what it means to be culpable. At what point does a person cross the line between a witness and an actor. It isn’t perfect; a key witness is found through the most ridiculous of means. However, Jodie Foster was wonderful in this difficult role. She was very brave to make this film. I also really appreciated the relationship between Jodie Foster’s character and the prosecutor.

3 Dance Girl, Dance!

Dorothy Arzner was the rare female director in old Hollywood. In this film, she tells the story of two women trying to make it in show business. Maureen O’Hara’s character is a classically trained ballet dancer who longs to make it in ballet; Lucille Ball plays a scheming woman who becomes a burlesque dancer.


This film is wonderful and has a lot going for it. Maureen O’Hara is wonderful in this film and Lucille Ball is striking as a scheming burlesque dancer. Plus, the heart of this film is a woman director examining the male gaze. There is a memorable scene where Maureen O’Hara speaks to the camera about this very subject. Go watch that scene. Now.

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