March 30, 2011

Confessions of a "Good" Student

I've always been a good student - label it how you will. I study hard, get good grades, blah, blah, blah. And I don't really know if I'm a good student because I get good grades or if I get good grades because I'm a good student. It's one of those circular, chicken and the egg type arguments. At any rate, I was labeled from an early age, along with many of my friends, and we traveled in a pack through all the advanced classes our school district had to offer. Well, except for the time I boycotted sophomore AP English because I heard it was "too hard." After a week of SSR (silent sustained reading) in "regular" English, I'd had it. I marched down to the guidance counselor and respectfully requested my original slot in the AP class - crisis averted. I then happily (well, as happily as any normal teenager can) continued my journey towards high school graduation.

But there came one final crossroad (crossroads? See how much that AP class helped me?) before I graduated...Calculus. Me and my pack (grammar error noted) had moved together through all the advanced math classes from 7th grade on, and then Calculus reared its ugly head at us. It wasn't the subject matter that daunted us, but rather, the instructor. He was a known alcoholic. I knew a little more about the situation than I wanted to because he was our neighbor, three doors down, and I had spent much of my childhood around him. I knew it wasn't a rumor. I also knew he was very smart. However, I had no intention of marring my academic career (translation = grade point average) by taking Calculus from someone I did not trust to actually teach it to me. So I did what every grade point average loving, crazy, "good" student would do: I bailed and was a T.A. for the band director instead. Bright move.

But wait, there's more! I gained early acceptance to PLU (Pacific Lutheran University for those of you not from the PNW) my senior year and then sat back and watched everyone else scramble as they waited to apply during the normally prescribed time. I thought I had it made, was in the clear. And then PLU did something I never thought they would do; they sent me a math placement test. It had been a year since I'd been in a math class but I figured I could easily pass the test. After all, I was a "good" student. And even though the test was accompanied by a letter strongly encouraging a review with a math teacher, I ignored it. One afternoon, on a whim, I grabbed that math placement test and took it with no review, mailed it back to PLU and waited. When I finally received my fall schedule guess which math class I was placed in? Remedial Algebra, a 2 credit class. Dammit. I was crushed and I don't think I've ever told any of my friends this story, the same friends from my "pack" of "good" students - probably because I was ashamed.

I bounced back. Within a month, my professor could not understand why I was in a remedial class and waived the following 2 credit class, allowing me to go straight into Business Calculus, a 4 credit class. I would leave PLU with 2 more math credits than I needed, but also with a very important lesson learned - not to let my ego get in the way of what was best for me. I did very well in both classes, with the exception of functions, which I don't think I'll ever wrap my brain around (Thanks, Jen, for getting me through that topic.), and I graduated college, which is the main goal, really. Right? And guess what kids? You really do use Algebra when you grow up, but that's a discussion for another time.

Here's the thing, I just turned 40 and I still have nightmares about not taking that high school Calculus class. It is one of my biggest regrets and it drives me batty. My subconscious cannot seem to get past the fact that I did take a Calculus class in college. Guilt? Probably. So I've made a decision; when I finish at the Art Institute next year I am going to take a Calculus class at a local community college so I can close this crazy loop. And this time I know I will need some review before I take the plunge. I have a few things going for me: 1) I live with a math wizzard and 2) I'm a "good" student. That should help, right?

March 24, 2011

Shame on you!

Some of you know I'm more than a little irritated with the Chris Brown situation. He refuses to own what he did, passes it off as if it's not a big deal and says promoting his new album is what's most important. Pig. Been under a rock for the past few years and don't know what the heck I'm talking about? Chris Brown beat his (at the time) girlfriend Rihanna so badly, she was nearly unrecognizable and then denied it. She refused to admit it was Brown who did it first. Ultimately Rihanna told the truth, forcing Brown to admit what he'd done. I have to wonder now after all that's happened this week, whether Brown would have admitted it had Rihanna let him off the hook - if he'd received treatment for his "issues", gone to court, done his time...wait...he didn't do any time.

Now Brown says he's paid for what he did and we should all move on and let him focus on his career. He appeared on Good Morning America a few days ago and his behavior was...well...the usual. The segment began with a short interview with Robin Roberts. The discussion was mainly about the album but she tossed in a few questions about the past and Brown did not respond well. At the time it seemed he was laughing it off and basically refused to answer Roberts' questions. It was the typical famous person avoiding the subject interview and turning the conversation to their own selfish advantage. I rolled my eyes. He performed. Show over.

Not so fast, an hour later it was reported Brown went ballistic after the interview, threw a chair at a window facing times square, yelled and screamed like the spoiled ass he is and then stormed out with his entourage. For days now, everyone with press credentials has been bandying the topic about, including Robin Roberts and I am disappointed in her response. Not only am I incensed with Brown and his behavior, but Robin Roberts is on my list too. I have watched her for the past few mornings, reporting on this event in a manner that makes me angry at and embarrassed for Robin. She is not handling it well.

First of all, I want to know why Brown wasn't arrested for his violent behavior? Maybe I'm missing something, but he could have seriously hurt someone with all that glass falling to the street below. Is this another case of the star treatment we are all so used to? Now, a journalist whom I usually respect, is letting him off the hook too. Robin Roberts has repeatedly said she forgives Brown, let's not make a big deal about it, come on back and we'll interview you again. Seriously? You sound like an abuse victim, Robin, and it is disgusting to me. Brown's behavior was unacceptable and evidence that he clearly has not "recovered." I don't care that you had an interview with him a year ago where you really connected and felt like you were friends. Brown treated you like crap on national television, trashed your studio and is now telling anyone who will listen that Good Morning America set him up and lied about the "talking points." You should be going after him like a piranha, Robin. He deserves it.

The only other option that makes sense to me is that Robin Roberts is pandering to get the interview. Barbara Walters is fast approaching retirement and Roberts has picked up many of her responsibilities in the Hollywood interview arena. This year the ABC Oscar special was hosted by Roberts, not Walters. Roberts has also hosted several specials in the past year ala Barbara Walters. See where this is headed? I do. For years, Walters has pandered to the rich and famous to get interviews and now Roberts is doing it. It makes me sick. I have loved Robin Roberts for years. She was the only female sportscaster I could stomach for quite a long time and I was thrilled when she joined Good Morning America, but she is changing...and it seems like it's for the fame. Maybe I got sucked into believing Robin Roberts was different because I wanted to believe she was better than most reporters. Maybe she was and then fame bit her just like it did Barbara Walters. I hope not.

So, shame on Chris Brown for his behavior. Shame on Robin Roberts for refusing to admonish it. Shame on me for believing a member of the media was different than any of the rest of them.

March 3, 2011

"I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue!"

Ever seen the movie Airplane? I know I saw it as a kid, just can't remember when... Having watched it again as an adult I cannot believe my parents let us watch it. Hearing Mrs. Cleaver drop the s-bomb changed my life, but I digress. Lloyd Bridges has one of the funniest scenes in the movie: as he's freaking out the plane will crash into the air traffic control tower he shouts (with an airplane glue bottle firmly shoved up his nose), "I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue!" - his response to what he assumes to be impending doom.

I have felt plenty of impending doom this quarter - lots and lots of deadlines with no end in sight. Guess what I decided would be a super great idea? I set a goal for myself. Gasp. It seemed like such a good idea at the time, a way to get myself back on track, start the new year off right, refresh. I gave up alcohol for roughly 90 days. Yes, I said it; I gave up alcohol between New Year's Day and my 40th birthday - roughly 90 days. I rose above Mr. Bridges' panic and did something smart for myself.

And then the quarter blew up in my face. I am by no means a heavy drinker; I really only enjoy beer and wine (and yes, Jen...margaritas!), and it is nice to come home after a stressful day and crack open a cold one. Except for the last 62 days (damn straight I'm counting) of stress, lack of sleep, deadlines, and dammit, I want a beer! But I set a goal and I will stick to it because that's what I do. In the end the airplane didn't knock out the tower and Mr. Bridges was fine. I will be too. Until then I'll just keep smelling Jim's glass of wine before he drinks it. It's just that...I picked the wrong quarter know.