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written 8/28/2012



Billy the Bully was gonna kick my ass after school one day, circa 4th grade. Billy, who would later weigh in over 200 lbs in middle school, was a scary dude and I don't recall what I had done to incur his wrath. What I do recall is the oppressive weight of my impending demise. All day long at school my studies were of little concern, knowing I was doomed not to see another day. Through each class I pondered all the possible ways Billy might inflict his punishment: broken limbs, battered face, damaged jewels, sprains, gashes, bruises. I fluctuated between defeated acceptance of my fate and full-blown panic. Finally and mercifully, the end of the school day arrived. And that's where the vivid memories end. The ass-kicking never happened… at least not to anywhere near the degree that I anticipated. Whether Billy's trajectory rerouted him outside his predicted "cone of uncertainty" or whether I simply hyped up a small disagreement into something much greater, I couldn't say.

So now we wait for Isaac the Intimidator, and the anticipation drives you nuts if you let it. Isaac is expected to make landfall early Wednesday morning, right on the 7th anniversary of Katrina’s August 29, 2005 landfall. As I write, Isaac has just been upgraded from a tropical storm to a category 1 hurricane, currently with 75mph winds. Some predictions have it reaching category 2 status upon hitting the coast. Most people I know in NOLA are planning to ride this one out, as are the furry girls and I. Hopefully we've taken the necessary precautions and we'll all be laughing in Isaac's wake within a few days.

The Katrina X is still barely visible on my apartment wall
Classroom computers and other items moved away from the windows to lessen risk of water damage
Unintentionally dramatic test photo from my new camera. Taken on a "normal" day, but hints at temperamental weather in the Gulf


Start of School

Every year I consider it a significant milestone to get the first full week of teaching under my belt. Once again my classes (three PreCalculus Honors, two AP Calculus AB, one AP Calculus BC) gifted me with great first impressions, personally. I look forward to getting to know my new students better. Mathematically, I can tell that many challenges await, and that’s a big part of what makes teaching interesting. Beyond such generalities though, it’s hard to get a good sense of where the year is headed in the first week. Students and teacher are still in the “feeling out” phase and schedule-shuffling disrupts any rhythm I intend to eventually achieve. Furthermore, this year I’m trying to figure out how to effectively make and integrate online video lessons into the PreCalculus class.

The second full week is when I feel a sense of routine typically develops, but this year that will have to wait. Most schools in the Greater New Orleans region are officially closed Monday through Wednesday. Of course the shutdown could be extended depending on how cruel Isaac decides to be.

Control-freak that I am when it comes to my role as a teacher, I’m reminded once again that flexibility is an essential quality. Whenever “normalcy” may return, I’m excited to put Isaac behind us and get back into the swing of things.


After my last post, I talked to my dear mother about my ATL gay bar experience. For the first time, she revealed to me that there was a time in my life when she thought I exhibited gay-like mannerisms and perhaps even questioned my sexuality. I kept my composure – It’s a rite of passage for a young lad to awkwardly stumble into adolescence and possibly send some ambiguous signals along the way. No, Mom clarified. She was talking about only a few years ago. Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn Mom. She chuckled at my stunned reaction and then declined to elaborate.

In itself, the perception of being gay was not what I found so objectionable. What troubled me was the idea that I could be so unaware of what kind of vibes I was giving out. Really, am I unknowingly guilty of false advertising? My friends have subsequently assured me that I exude nothing but rabid masculinity.

I don't think Mom was trying to screw with my head, but if she was, well-played Mother!
I’m tempted for my next visit to see Mom, where the Arizona retirement homes are not exactly bastions of social tolerance, to show up with a t-shirt knotted around my midriff and greet her with a flamboyantly enthusiastic, "Haaaaaay!!!"

Recent random babysitting moments with Jude and his little sister Aude (pronounced "Ode")