Monday, August 07, 2017

disjointed Monday morning

* Allergies very bad, perhaps because we've had something like 4" of rain this weekend and it's reactivated the molds. I have one eye hived up (Then again: I tried to pluck a few stray brow hairs there last night and that's been a known hive trigger. I guess I just have to accept going Full Brooke Shields as far as that's concerned)

I'm also sneezing and have that scratchy throat that is indicative of allergic issues.

*Making my syllabi for my classes today. This popped into my head:

I'd put that in the first-day lecture (traditionally, the first day of class is "go over the syllabus" day and a lot of students skip on the grounds of "I can read it later" but really, it's an important day to be present because you hear what parts of class policy the prof really emphasizes. And also I usually start on some of the Chapter 1 material anyway, because going over my syllabi don't take a full hour)

Except I'm not going to use that image because I realize it's kind of dumb and I'm probably the only one who finds it funny.

* Surfing around (I periodically check the Hallmark website Because of Reasons*) I discovered that Hallmark is apparently re-introducing Rainbow Brite. No idea if this is a full-on thing with a Netflix cartoon or something, or just a quiet "we're redoing the retro toys for those of you who remember them"

I wasn't really a fan when I was a kid - I was a bit old for Rainbow Brite (or thought I was) when she first came out, but I admit I tend to approve of the reintroduction. The old cartoon show, as I remember, was about "understanding your feelings" and "being kind to people" and again, I think we need more of that in this world, and maybe as much as we "indoctrinate" kids we need to indoctrinate them not to hate or mock other people. I mean, don't get me wrong: criticizing bad behavior and (What is the word St. Paul used? Exhorting?) encouraging/exhorting people to behave better is perhaps a net positive (though there are good and bad kinds of that exhortation, seeing my complaints about the "fitness challenge").

But anyway. I like the idea of a lot of things that were around when I was just on the cusp of adolescence coming back....I've also been watching the re-introduction of the Strawberry Shortcake dolls in something like their 1980s form (I have Strawberry, and Blueberry Muffin, and Huckleberry Pie, and now Lemon Meringue, and I really really want them to remake Orange Blossom so I can get her, too....)

I think I've said before that I was good at being a kid, I am okay at being an adult, but I was pretty terrible at being a teenager. I think one of the reasons that in a lot of ways I was a "late bloomer" (e.g., slow to adopt make-up, slow to put away playing with toys) is that I didn't understand the teenage world and it seemed like a social minefield to me where there were so many mis-steps you could make, and being a kid seemed easier.

Being an adult isn't easy, but it's probably easier than being a teenager, and anyway, I kind of have to be an adult, so.

(*Reasons: I wanted to get the "Classic MLP Moondancer" ornament when they brought it out - and yes, I have the ornament now, sitting in her box, waiting for November when I put up my tree. And I also keep watching to see if/when they bring out the promised two pack of Itty Bitty Applejack and Rarity - I have the other Ponies in Itty Bitty form and I want to complete the set when I can.

Itty Bitties are this funny little Hallmark thing - v. small stuffed toys that are kind of all of a style (just post-shaped bodies, no real arms or legs - though the pegasusususes have wings - and they're all about the same size. And if they had been available when I was like 8, I would have been ALL OVER these and probably would have saved every penny of my pocket money to buy them. I also kind of love them for the name, because it makes me think of the Diener "itty bitty" eraser animals of my childhood....)

* Also am thinking about "back to school" stuff today. And remembering how when I was a kid, we would get sort of loose lists of what supplies we needed. Now, I know some districts are VERY prescriptive about what kids should have, and woe unto you if you are slow on the uptake and find the stores around you sold out of that item.

I think I liked it better when I was a kid.

I've also talked about the whole "Tragedy of the Commons" idea where some districts dump the supplies in a big box and then randomly (or not) redistribute them, so if your mom sprang for the GOOD pencils with decent erasers and leads that didn't break, chances were you'd wind up instead with some cheap abomination that was poorly made. And while I GET the idea of not wanting kids to lord it over others about how "better" their school supplies are, I think:

a. it's a ham-fisted way of doing it, and it just encourages everyone to buy the cheapest worst stuff possible, because they figure that's what their kid will wind up getting anyway


b. Kids are gonna find a way to set up a pecking order anyhow.

I mean, when I was in school, yeah, they did stuff like suggest how big the crayon boxes were, so some kid whose parents "just" got them the 16 count box isn't feeling jealous about the kid with the 64 count box, but....I don't know.

I also know some districts ask for "common supplies" for the classroom like hand sanitizer* and tissues and I know some parents go "Shouldn't people's taxes pay for that" and maybe so, I don't know, but....when I'm buying some of my own lab supplies for my college-level classes** it's kind of hard for me to go "Yeah, sure, tack another 0.25% on to my sales tax so that all the classrooms have 'free' tissues in them" (I also sometimes wonder if district money is always optimally spent....I know we've had cases in my region of people "paying themselves" to go to conferences that turned out to really be vacations for them and their families. And I'm quite sure my state Legislature hasn't done a particularly stellar job at funding things like schools, and asking the working people of the state to pay even more sales tax to make up that I've said before, I could be more content with a rise in my property tax but paying nearly 10% sales tax on everything including groceries gets to be a bit much)

(* and I admit I have issues with this, because hand sanitizer, in most cases, is NOT as good an option as water and plain soap is, and might contribute to the spread of more-resistant germs)

(** we have lab fees, but for small consumable type items, getting them "officially" purchased is SUCH a giant pain (probably a feature and not a bug of the system) that it's just easier for me to shell out the $20 or whatever myself)

But anyway. I know we tend to think "how things were when we were kids was better" but I admit I like the idea BETTER of being told to "get five folders that you can tell apart" instead of being told to get five folders, made in such-and-such a style, and one should be red, one green, one blue, one yellow, and one orange, or some such. (I always liked the plain, sort of matte-finish "cardstock" type folders - I don't know what they were called but I can picture them - I could draw on them with pencil and I often "decorated" my own plain folders, which I liked better than the "official" decorated ones anyway, which usually had either stock photos of things like horses or kids playing soccer or cartoon characters I was not that into)

I also remember one year for art class the list of supplies, and how we were asked to have a "box" for them, and my dad gave me an old tackle box that I think he had used for collecting small rock samples or something. But just the idea of "new art supplies" (unbroken colored pencils, and new scissors, and the like) held promise. I liked most of my academic classes just fine, but being able to have art during the day was nice because it was a break - it was "putting information out" by making art instead of just "taking information in" and really, I think I enjoyed it more than I enjoyed recess (I wasn't sporty so rarely got invited to join games, and some years my particular friends ate during a different lunch period and so had different recess times....)

I will also admit I am slightly saddened by the trend of requiring students to have clear or mesh backpacks, for safety reasons. I understand why, but....if you're a teen girl, and you need to carry certain "monthly supplies," you don't want everyone knowing. (Yes, purses, I know, but some districts frown on those, too)

* Heh, I was saying on Twitter the other night that one of the promos I saw for that documentary on the '90s almost made it sound like it should have been subtitled "The decade everything started to go to Hell" because they referenced things like Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing and school shootings and I realized - yeah, a lot of the issues we have to deal with now ("Active shooter" events, the concern of domestic or other terrorism) are things that first seemed to crop up big in the 90s. (The clear backpack thing was a direct response to kids bringing weapons to school).

Also, it makes me feel very old to think the decade I was a young adult (in my 20s, in grad school) is now documentary fodder.

(And maybe the fact that the 90s, and stuff that happened in them, contributed to some of the messes we are in now, is why I collect Gen 1 My Little Ponies and hunt around for the reproduction-80s-style Strawberry Shortcake dolls - that I long for a return to that kind of innocence I knew before I was so aware of what went on in the world)

1 comment:

anita said...

There are repro Strawberry Shortcake dolls? My daughter had a bunch of them (of course, they are long gone now), and I WANT some of my own. I will have to keep an eye out . . . because I need more stuff to collect and find a place for.