sabotabby: (teacher lady)
 Almost right on schedule, my first back-to-school anxiety nightmare of August. It was not as bad as most, probably because I've been in school-anxiety-mode for a year now and my brain hasn't had a stretch of not being stressed out and anxious. Anyway, it was almost interesting so I'll share it.

First day of class. My classes, as per usual nightmares, were huge, and the kids kept drifting in and out and coming in late and wouldn't stay still or give me their names. One girl had recently lost her brother in a shooting, another had lost her mother three weeks earlier. Her mother's grave was located right beside the classroom, and she had brought several large bouquets of purple lilies that clashed with the red and white flowers on the grave. She kept getting up to shift the flowers around, or curling up in a fetal position to cry.

The principal had decided that class would begin with a personal address from her, and so I was supposed to wait until she arrived to start. But she was late, and the kids were already complaining that they were bored, so I did an icebreaker activity. It was called Millennials Are Killing X and you had to go around a circle and say a thing Millennials are killing and why. For example, "Millennials are killing the housing market because they spend on their money on smashed avocado toast and lattes. I thought it was hilarious but the kids didn't get it, and then I remembered that the Millennials had been years ago and the kids didn't know what they were.

:)

Jan. 12th, 2015 02:55 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (socialism with a human face)
Today has not been utter shit! This is gr8 because I expected utter shit.

Most important is that things are looking up for our hospitalized kid. He is stable and they were going to try to get him off life support today. So, fingers crossed.

It remains a tragic situation. The family is cash-strapped; we are taking up a collection for them. Both parents work and the mother isn't even getting any time off. I can't even imagine.

In less life-or-death news, my film class continued to be pants. Tomorrow is their last chance to demonstrate to me that they can actually use a fucking camera, so hopefully they'll get their shit together.

On the plus side, a good many of the kids in other classes are in proper panic mode and actually getting work done. So. Yay?

I did nothing all weekend except solder a thing. I fuckered my legs and spine running up and down the stairs, and fuckered my brain worrying about my kids. Bah. At least I'm in proper panic mode and finally getting things done.

I just really hope I don't need to flunk more than half of my film kids.

Also

Jun. 25th, 2012 11:54 am
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (bones by arianadii)
I'm still uncomfortable with the concepts and rhetoric that make up Mad Pride.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (fuck patriarchy)
Dear Wind Mobile,

In a city as diverse as this one, have you ever considered that there might be many people walking down the street who suffer from anxiety orders, heart conditions, and PTSD? And that, perhaps, jumping out in front of them on a dark street and yelling in their face may not be the best way to advertise your products and services?

In fact, approximately 51% of the population has probably, at some point in their lives, dealt with street harassment, and are likely to interpret a man jumping out and yelling on a dark street as the attack of a potential rapist and not a jolly and lighthearted introduction to your company?

Furthermore, might it be wise, if you are going to pursue this method of advertising, to advise your salesmen that they may actually send someone into a panic attack while on the job, and that the correct response when being informed that they scared the shit out of a potential customer is not, "I hope you didn't poop your pants!"?

I actually am a current, and not a potential customer, but I'm seriously considering being a former customer.

No love,

Sabs

P.S. These headphones? Mean that I'm not open to talking to you or anyone else who approaches me on the street trying to sell me something.
sabotabby: (books!)
How did it take me until now to read If on a winter's night a traveler? Bad socialist, no cookie.

Anyway, this passage really spoke to me:
The first sensation this book should convey is what I feel when I hear the telephone ring; I say "should" because I doubt that written words can give even a partial idea of it: it is not enough to declare that my reaction is one of refusal, of flight from this aggressive and threatening summons, as it is also a feeling of urgency, intolerableness, coercion that impels me to obey the injunction of that sound, rushing to answer even though I am certain that nothing will come of it save suffering and discomfort.


Yes, that is exactly it. Exactly. Calvino also gets many points from me for writing in the second person and then gender-swapping the viewpoint character mid-sentence. No one writes like that anymore, and it's a pity.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (clean all the things)
panic attacks
Hyperbole and a Half.

Sometimes I think that Allie is the same person as me, except substantially funnier and more talented.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (cat teacher)
[livejournal.com profile] rantipole6 posted this article about the "Marshmallow Test." Here is a video demonstrating it. I've been thinking about it all morning.

The test is simple: A small child is put in a room with a marshmallow. She is told that if she can sit there for 15 minutes and not eat the marshmallow, she will get two marshmallows. The experimenter then leaves the room and the child is alone with the marshmallow.

Sadism aside, this test is apparently a predictor of future academic and social success. The children who can delay gratification tend to get higher marks in school, are fitter, and have fewer behavioural problems than those who give into temptation. This is not surprising; think of the academic performance of a child who watches TV instead of doing homework, versus a child who studies first and then watches TV if he has time.

Because of a somewhat-misguided policy, I am only allowed to take off 10% for late assignments (and I seldom do that), which means that my kids often hand in their work late since they have no external motivation to complete assignments on time. But I don't need to take off late marks, because the students who hand in their assignments late (and thus have theoretically more time to complete the assignment than the ones who did it on time) almost always hand in work that is less complete and of lower quality than the students who are able to stick to timelines.

[livejournal.com profile] rantipole6 asks whether her readers are able to resist temptation. I responded that as a child, I'd have no problem passing the marshmallow test. I had much more self-discipline then than I do now. As you can see by the fact that this entry will be posted before I've finished writing my exams, as an adult, I'm terrible at delaying gratification, and accordingly, I'm far more stressed out than I need to be.

Another factor mentioned in that study is that children who have difficulty passing the marshmallow test can be taught techniques that will help them. The children who pass distract themselves by playing mental games. If a child is told to, for example, pretend that the marshmallow is a picture of a marshmallow with a frame around it, she is more likely to be able to hold out 15 minutes. Whether these tricks teach children skills that help them delay gratification outside of the test remains to be seen.

Now, when I think about it, I've always been a procrastinator. The difference is a matter of how I procrastinated. As a kid, I did the equivalent of imagining a frame around the marshmallow. Instead of writing my essay, I would write stories. I was seldom tempted by the TV. This didn't decrease my stress level (back in those days one did get in trouble for handing in late work), but it wouldn't decrease the quality of my writing either. Accordingly, while I wasn't necessarily the greatest at delaying gratification, it didn't seem to affect my academic performance. (Though, of course, it didn't help, and it resulted in me forming bad habits like blogging instead of doing my work.)

When I look at how my kids procrastinate, it's quite interesting. Some of the worst cases will not stop playing simple Flash games or refreshing Facebook (for simplicity's sake, I'll focus on the former waste of time, as I think the latter is a more complicated phenomenon). It doesn't matter how much I nag, wheedle, or threaten. They cannot seem to close the window, even if I threaten to send them to the office or tell them that they will get a lower mark on the assignment. It looks very much to me like a physical addiction. I can remotely control their computers, so out of desperation I sometimes log them out or blank their screens. They have been known to scream as if in pain when I do this.

The thing is, I am pretty sure they aren't getting any pleasure out of playing the games. I know, because I play those games too. (My weaknesses are Tetris and Space Invaders because I'm a 30-year-old hipster. Room Escape Games were also a problem for me for awhile.) It's repetitive, frustrating behaviour that's compulsive rather than pleasurable. They don't like the taste of the marshmallow; they just can't look at food without wanting to put it in their mouths.

So really, the issue for me is not procrastination per se. The results (quality of work and also mood, which is probably a bigger issue for me) differ depending on how I'm avoiding doing what I should be doing, which is one of the reasons "lifestyle experts" advise you to train yourself to do housework as a means of procrastination rather than, say, watching TV. If I'm procrastinating by writing, I'm not necessarily more productive than if I'm procrastinating by playing video games, but a) I have something to show for it at least and b) I don't get overwhelmed with guilt and stress to quite the same degree. Hey, at least I'm doing something.

How I can use this to help my kids is beyond me, particularly when they see even fun activities as "work," and thus less appealing than games/Facebook. But I can probably use it myself to be less of a fuck-up.

Thoughts?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] rantipole6 posted this article about the "Marshmallow Test." Here is a video demonstrating it. I've been thinking about it all morning.

The test is simple: A small child is put in a room with a marshmallow. She is told that if she can sit there for 15 minutes and not eat the marshmallow, she will get two marshmallows. The experimenter then leaves the room and the child is alone with the marshmallow.

Sadism aside, this test is apparently a predictor of future academic and social success. The children who can delay gratification tend to get higher marks in school, are fitter, and have fewer behavioural problems than those who give into temptation. This is not surprising; think of the academic performance of a child who watches TV instead of doing homework, versus a child who studies first and then watches TV if he has time.

Because of a somewhat-misguided policy, I am only allowed to take off 10% for late assignments (and I seldom do that), which means that my kids often hand in their work late since they have no external motivation to complete assignments on time. But I don't need to take off late marks, because the students who hand in their assignments late (and thus have theoretically more time to complete the assignment than the ones who did it on time) almost always hand in work that is less complete and of lower quality than the students who are able to stick to timelines.

[livejournal.com profile] rantipole6 asks whether her readers are able to resist temptation. I responded that as a child, I'd have no problem passing the marshmallow test. I had much more self-discipline then than I do now. As you can see by the fact that this entry will be posted before I've finished writing my exams, as an adult, I'm terrible at delaying gratification, and accordingly, I'm far more stressed out than I need to be.

Another factor mentioned in that study is that children who have difficulty passing the marshmallow test can be taught techniques that will help them. The children who pass distract themselves by playing mental games. If a child is told to, for example, pretend that the marshmallow is a picture of a marshmallow with a frame around it, she is more likely to be able to hold out 15 minutes. Whether these tricks teach children skills that help them delay gratification outside of the test remains to be seen.

Now, when I think about it, I've always been a procrastinator. The difference is a matter of how I procrastinated. As a kid, I did the equivalent of imagining a frame around the marshmallow. Instead of writing my essay, I would write stories. I was seldom tempted by the TV. This didn't decrease my stress level (back in those days one did get in trouble for handing in late work), but it wouldn't decrease the quality of my writing either. Accordingly, while I wasn't necessarily the greatest at delaying gratification, it didn't seem to affect my academic performance. (Though, of course, it didn't help, and it resulted in me forming bad habits like blogging instead of doing my work.)

When I look at how my kids procrastinate, it's quite interesting. Some of the worst cases will not stop playing simple Flash games or refreshing Facebook (for simplicity's sake, I'll focus on the former waste of time, as I think the latter is a more complicated phenomenon). It doesn't matter how much I nag, wheedle, or threaten. They cannot seem to close the window, even if I threaten to send them to the office or tell them that they will get a lower mark on the assignment. It looks very much to me like a physical addiction. I can remotely control their computers, so out of desperation I sometimes log them out or blank their screens. They have been known to scream as if in pain when I do this.

The thing is, I am pretty sure they aren't getting any pleasure out of playing the games. I know, because I play those games too. (My weaknesses are Tetris and Space Invaders because I'm a 30-year-old hipster. Room Escape Games were also a problem for me for awhile.) It's repetitive, frustrating behaviour that's compulsive rather than pleasurable. They don't like the taste of the marshmallow; they just can't look at food without wanting to put it in their mouths.

So really, the issue for me is not procrastination per se. The results (quality of work and also mood, which is probably a bigger issue for me) differ depending on how I'm avoiding doing what I should be doing, which is one of the reasons "lifestyle experts" advise you to train yourself to do housework as a means of procrastination rather than, say, watching TV. If I'm procrastinating by writing, I'm not necessarily more productive than if I'm procrastinating by playing video games, but a) I have something to show for it at least and b) I don't get overwhelmed with guilt and stress to quite the same degree. Hey, at least I'm doing something.

How I can use this to help my kids is beyond me, particularly when they see even fun activities as "work," and thus less appealing than games/Facebook. But I can probably use it myself to be less of a fuck-up.

Thoughts?

zzzz

May. 25th, 2009 06:43 am
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (sleep of reason/goya/wouldprefernot2)
I had to give a presentation to my colleagues about the top-secret Icarus Project. This had nothing to do with the actual Icarus Project, but rather something that involved launching UFOs from cornfields in Wisconsin. I didn't know anything about the presentation or the project until I got to the meeting. I was presenting with two other people, but neither were there and I didn't really know them anyway, and also one was Harmony from BTVS, so she would obviously be useless.

One person gave me sketchy details that I thought might be enough for a Q&A if I had some background. I asked [name redacted] for some more information. I had only minutes before I had to go up there. He was sympathetic but he was also having a conversation with someone else, so he'd write a sentence down and then get distracted. I started to panic.


Sometimes my dreams are really easy to figure out.

zzzz

May. 25th, 2009 06:43 am
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
I had to give a presentation to my colleagues about the top-secret Icarus Project. This had nothing to do with the actual Icarus Project, but rather something that involved launching UFOs from cornfields in Wisconsin. I didn't know anything about the presentation or the project until I got to the meeting. I was presenting with two other people, but neither were there and I didn't really know them anyway, and also one was Harmony from BTVS, so she would obviously be useless.

One person gave me sketchy details that I thought might be enough for a Q&A if I had some background. I asked [name redacted] for some more information. I had only minutes before I had to go up there. He was sympathetic but he was also having a conversation with someone else, so he'd write a sentence down and then get distracted. I started to panic.


Sometimes my dreams are really easy to figure out.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (doomsday)
Call waiting is horrible. It makes the phone at least 50% more annoying than it otherwise would be, and is an excellent enabler of drama, since it forces you to decide, in a split second, whether the person you're talking to or the person beeping through is a higher priority. I can think of no good reason for its existence.

I should probably cancel it, huh? Why did I even sign up for it in the first place?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
Call waiting is horrible. It makes the phone at least 50% more annoying than it otherwise would be, and is an excellent enabler of drama, since it forces you to decide, in a split second, whether the person you're talking to or the person beeping through is a higher priority. I can think of no good reason for its existence.

I should probably cancel it, huh? Why did I even sign up for it in the first place?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (war is fun)
[livejournal.com profile] frandroid suggested passing this Linwood Barclay article around because of its brilliance, and I am inclined to agree. Also, Linwood is a wicked name.

Personally, I disagree a bit: Libby should be tortured for his bad porn, because now I can't make the bear-sex joke about CanLit anymore.

If Cheney's for torture, why not use it on Scooter?
Nov. 7, 2005. 01:00 AM
LINWOOD BARCLAY

Here's an idea, and I can't believe I'm the first to come up with this modest proposal, but why doesn't the U.S. government just go ahead and torture Lewis "Scooter" Libby? And not just for that ridiculous name.

Bamboo shoots would actually be quite fitting. )

On a completely unrelated note, someone sent me this link. Hanukkah is coming soon, by the way.

How to Good-bye Depression )

I know that many of you, like me, suffer from depression, so you'll understand why I need to read this.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] frandroid suggested passing this Linwood Barclay article around because of its brilliance, and I am inclined to agree. Also, Linwood is a wicked name.

Personally, I disagree a bit: Libby should be tortured for his bad porn, because now I can't make the bear-sex joke about CanLit anymore.

If Cheney's for torture, why not use it on Scooter?
Nov. 7, 2005. 01:00 AM
LINWOOD BARCLAY

Here's an idea, and I can't believe I'm the first to come up with this modest proposal, but why doesn't the U.S. government just go ahead and torture Lewis "Scooter" Libby? And not just for that ridiculous name.

Bamboo shoots would actually be quite fitting. )

On a completely unrelated note, someone sent me this link. Hanukkah is coming soon, by the way.

How to Good-bye Depression )

I know that many of you, like me, suffer from depression, so you'll understand why I need to read this.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (end the cbc lockout/by some random cbc w)
First, read this.

I'm glad the lockout is over. I'm also glad that CBC Unplugged isn't going anywhere (or if it is, it will go kicking and screaming) because it has become one of my favourite blogs during its short existence. A lot of the other CBC blogs are really good, too, so it'll be interesting to see which ones stick around.

In other news, I settled up with my landlord today. This guy really knows how to charm a girl, let me tell you. He really likes to talk. He launched into a monologue about the '67 war and how after all of that killing, Israel finally "gave up" Gaza, and what was the point of it all, apparently thinking that it was a very apt metaphor and very appropriate given that his tenant is a Jew. Man, if I'd wanted to cry anti-Semitism I could have had some real fun.

Anyway, he has some relative coming from Greece so he's happy to evict me. In turn, I informed him that I'd fight it. He informed me that the Rental Tribunal were all friends of his, which is probably true, given the complicity of such bodies in tenant exploitation. So after both of us threatening to make the other's life a living hell, he offered to swallow a bit less than half of what I'd withheld. He then went on to another monologue about people with mohawks, and while tuning him out, I contemplated the offer.

I could keep pushing for the whole thing, and legally, I might win, but if the Tribunal is all Greek-landlord mafia, I could get completely screwed, too. If I paid and then appealed to the Tribunal, I might have to end up paying the whole shot. So I went for it and made my landlord sign a note that we'd settled up and there was no money outstanding.

I figure I'll be out of here within six months. Moving will be stressful enough without having to go to court. And I did end up with some discount, at least, and maybe in the future he'll know better than to fuck me around.

In other news, Fearless Leader is two hours late. I don't think he's coming. Of course, if he called to say he was late, lost, etc., it wouldn't have done me any good because the stupid phone has been ringing off the hook all night and no single person in my life seems to understand the meaning of I don't like talking on the phone, I don't have call waiting, and I'm expecting to hear from other people.

EDIT: [The following morning.] Ooops, Fearless Leader did come by, exactly when he said he would. Apparently, my doorbell isn't working (or maybe I just didn't hear it because of the ringing phone). Sorry, Fearless Leader, for implying that you are flakey!

cut for unadulterated moment of phone anxiety and CAPLOCKS OF RAGE )

Yeah, so I'm glad that's dealt with.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
First, read this.

I'm glad the lockout is over. I'm also glad that CBC Unplugged isn't going anywhere (or if it is, it will go kicking and screaming) because it has become one of my favourite blogs during its short existence. A lot of the other CBC blogs are really good, too, so it'll be interesting to see which ones stick around.

In other news, I settled up with my landlord today. This guy really knows how to charm a girl, let me tell you. He really likes to talk. He launched into a monologue about the '67 war and how after all of that killing, Israel finally "gave up" Gaza, and what was the point of it all, apparently thinking that it was a very apt metaphor and very appropriate given that his tenant is a Jew. Man, if I'd wanted to cry anti-Semitism I could have had some real fun.

Anyway, he has some relative coming from Greece so he's happy to evict me. In turn, I informed him that I'd fight it. He informed me that the Rental Tribunal were all friends of his, which is probably true, given the complicity of such bodies in tenant exploitation. So after both of us threatening to make the other's life a living hell, he offered to swallow a bit less than half of what I'd withheld. He then went on to another monologue about people with mohawks, and while tuning him out, I contemplated the offer.

I could keep pushing for the whole thing, and legally, I might win, but if the Tribunal is all Greek-landlord mafia, I could get completely screwed, too. If I paid and then appealed to the Tribunal, I might have to end up paying the whole shot. So I went for it and made my landlord sign a note that we'd settled up and there was no money outstanding.

I figure I'll be out of here within six months. Moving will be stressful enough without having to go to court. And I did end up with some discount, at least, and maybe in the future he'll know better than to fuck me around.

In other news, Fearless Leader is two hours late. I don't think he's coming. Of course, if he called to say he was late, lost, etc., it wouldn't have done me any good because the stupid phone has been ringing off the hook all night and no single person in my life seems to understand the meaning of I don't like talking on the phone, I don't have call waiting, and I'm expecting to hear from other people.

EDIT: [The following morning.] Ooops, Fearless Leader did come by, exactly when he said he would. Apparently, my doorbell isn't working (or maybe I just didn't hear it because of the ringing phone). Sorry, Fearless Leader, for implying that you are flakey!

cut for unadulterated moment of phone anxiety and CAPLOCKS OF RAGE )

Yeah, so I'm glad that's dealt with.

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