why are you calling my mom?

saw feist last night. she seemed really bored, even though the crowd was into it. one nice surprise was that for the encore, she performed, broken social scene's "lover's spit." amazing. the rest of it was so-so. liked "1-2-3-4" and "my moon, my man," but the rest of it was surprisingly boring. and she told really long jokes that didn't go anywhere. that was kind of annoying. and the poster the fillmore provided wasn't that great, either. let down.

sequoia elementary in stockton said that they might consider me for the position. so, i'm going to check out luther burbank high (sac), sequoia (stockton), and komure elementary (stockton). what's with all the need in stockton? the only upside is that they have a rasputin's down there. i really hope this next year won't be miserable.

today, francisco got in trouble and i had to walk him to the principal. he answered ms. flatley something in spanish, and she got wickedly upset. "don't ever disrespect me!" she repeated. sounded a lot like rollergirl, actually. francisco said to me, "i was only asking why she was going to call my mom."

esteban got on the roof to retrieve the soccer ball. i yelled at him to get down. "don't do that!" i yelled, but honestly, i didn't care. a broken leg is a good lesson. i told ms. flatley anyway, and she told the principal. they got a nice, long lecture and looked pretty broken down when they returned to class. i think esteban was pissed, but i got him back on my good side by telling him my song: "i say, 'este!" you say, "ban!" este! ban! he participated. kids will do anything so long as it's weird.

ms. flatley asked the kids to write us letters in the computer lab yesterday. we read them this morning. a lot of students wrote, "you are my best friend."
oh, teenage hopes alive at your door.

got offered a job today teaching english to 7/8th graders in stockton. i don't know about stockton. said i'd check it out on july 6th. we see how things go...

i played soccer with esteban, francisco, ivan, and some others. meagan said i looked like
'an old man' out there.

worked out for the third day in a row. could only lift five pound weights on each side about fifteen times. if that. i'm too weak. i remember not being able to do pull ups when i was a kid, and making room for all the girls that could do at least twenty. sissy boy.

i have another phone interview with luther burbank high's principal on thursday. what am i getting myself into?
i think i'm gonna go for a run.

meagan is going to develop a talking rachel doll. here are some of the things it will say when you pull its string:

"i think i'm gonna get some candy."
"i'm tiiiiiired."
"i think i'm gonna go for a run."
"i wonder what we're gonna do tonight."
"helloooo? helloooo?"
"when's halloween?"

the doll also comes with two accessories. a pan full of brussel sprouts accompanied by artificial spray butter. it won't be a big seller, but it will be amazing.

some things about today:

- juan couldn't write numbers like 'five,' 'twelve,' 'twenty,' 'ninety.'
- i learned (again) never to buy jamba juice from a location that hasn't been open for more than two years. they don't know how to make them unless it's been over two years.
- a pack of boys became dead silent when two chicas walked by. one was wearing a ridiculously short skirt. aye!
- my neighbors were throwing a banging party in their caport. you always know it's a party when the blue tarp is covering the entrance.
- jason cried when i asked him to write his name down. he's only 4; i guess i shouldn't have pressed too hard. i just want him to learn something already rather than call out "spider! look, look! spider!" whenever he spots some cobwebs.
- i ran on a treadmill for fifteen minutes straight. i closed my eyes for a second to imagine i was some place else, but i realized i was falling off the track. luckily, i landed on my feet and didn't look too much like an idiot. i never have luck with treadmills.
- i ate nasty leftover pasta cold for lunch.
- rachel got me an aquarium pass for when claire, kevin, nia and byron visit this weekend. i like it when people visit.
- the principal of george y. komure (pronounced 'coy-mer,' i think) called me to schedule an interview. it's for 7/8th graders, which i don't really want, but at $42,000/yr. i might have to reconsider...

rachel's eating an apple. maybe we'll have to add a crunch-crunch-crunch sound, or possibly the noise a blowdryer makes.
let me told you a question.

on saturday i went to a job fair for new teachers in san ramon. before the fair we candidates were told that usually 10-25 people each year are offered jobs on the spot. i was hoping to be one of them. i was not. the fair took place at a conference center in san ramon on crow canyon road, and over 35 district representatives were present. as i was signing in, i noticed two individuals looking very much out of place, wearing plain white t-shirts (one buttoned down, the other polo), standing by the doorway. the taller one looked like a mad scientist version of art garfunkel; the other the crackhead from boogie nights. i thought maybe they were the bus boys or caterers.

when i received my schedule, i found that i would be interviewing with manteca at 11:00 am and fairfield-suisun at 1:00 pm. what? why did they want me to arrive at 8 am if my first interview wasn't for another three hours? and where the fuck is manteca? i asked a project pipeline staff member if i could please interview with folsom-cordova, natomas charter, or any other schools in the sacramento area. "four sac reps backed out yesterday," he said. "try asking susan around lunchtime to put you on the waiting list." it turned out that sacramento only had one representative, norm tanaka, for the whole day, and he was completely booked. apparently, everyone wants to work in sacramento.

i still didn't feel like waiting for three hours, doing nothing. any chance i can interview with a district, any district before then? "well, how about west contra costa?" sure. i notice it's the two guys i mistook for caterers manning the west contra costa booth. "would you be willing to take james tan in for an interview at 8:30?" when he asked that, it was 8:29. "yeah, let's do this!" art garfunkel said. "sure," said the crackhead. it turned out their names were kibby and julio, respectively, so i will continue with their actual names from here on out.

let me just get myself situated, i said. "no problem, we got things we need to straighten out, too," kibby said. i placed my portfolio on the table. "oh, great. wonderful," julio said, flipping through my pages very casually. "you got something we can keep, though? like a resume?" yes, i've got one right here. "oh, good! you know, how are we gonna know who you are if you don't have one?" i placed it in front of him. "so," julio began, "you a good teacher, you a bad teacher?" umm, a good one, i hope. "good. good. the kids cuss you out?" i nod my head, yeah, sometimes they would. he laughed. "alright!" then he made a fist, stuck his hand out, as if giving me "mad props."

kibby started asking questions and seemed focused, for the most part, certainly not as jumpy as julio. julio even got up on a number of occasions (while i'm answering questions) to chat with passersby. after the interview, kibby asked, "any questions for us?" what are your demographics like? "about 42% hispanic, 46% african-american. so, you know, your typical black and brown." julio looked at him at this point, as if he'd made a serious faux-paus. julio: "well, you know, you seem competent and we'd love to have you. if you wanna come by, check out the school, do that. we're good to go." can i have your cards, so i know how to contact you? "oh, you know. we should've brought our cards," they said to each other. kibby wrote his name down on the brochure for their school, john f. kennedy high in richmond. "just find us. we'll be around monday and tuesday." okay, i might do that. what subjects do you teach? kibby: "i've taught journalism for 17 years at the school." i turned to julio. and what do you teach? it's the first time he'd put on a straight face. "i'm the principal of the school." i must've looked completely stunned because he smirked when he said it. i shook their hands, i thanked them for the interview. as i walked away, julio called out, "NEXT!"

i had time to sit with other applicants after that first interview. i asked people what they thought of richmond. nobody really knew anything about it. i called dong. "what do you think of me working in richmond?" you do not want to work in richmond, he said. you know the movie coach carter? that movie's based on schools in richmond. it's one of the deadliest cities in the bay. i would seriously fear for your life if you lived in richmond. you're bound to run into some thugs. "alright, i probably won't then."

i interviewed with manteca at 11:00 am. manteca, i discovered, is an hour south of sacramento. the woman asking the questions appeared overly unenthusiastic, and at the end, she simply told me how i could apply. but when she busted out the pay scale, i wished i had swept her off her feet. beginning teachers without a credential begin at $42,000 a year. i could live with that.

the rest of the interviews were horrible. i kept expecting someone to offer me a position, but i was too late. vallejo wouldn't even interview me. we already hired 4 english positions this morning.

i wrote a scathing evaluation to project pipeline, condemning them for booking me so late in the day with school districts i wasn't even interested in. okay, so i liked manteca now, but they still hadn't even considered my preferences.

during lunch i sat with some dudes. i was clearly the youngest of all of them, and i felt slightly out of place, but whatever. i was wearing a tie. i was official. one of the dudes turned out to be my cousin claire's ex-boyfriend's current roommate. he went to jesuit, graduated '97. we talked about alpha males in english classes, mr. trafton showing star wars, having to communicate to these obscure school districts. at one point, pipeline staff member ravinder sat down with us. he talked about ex-basketball player kevin johnson making a mess of things at sac high. here's a brief recap:

"that dipshit is always hiring all his homies, and they're not even qualified. his (KJ) mentality is that anyone who's african-american and can manage a classroom can be a teacher. the guys he sends to me don't have any college, they don't have shit. one guy was so ghetto, he couldn't even talk english. he came up to me, and was like, "yo, let me told you a question." i was like, what? what the fuck are you trying to say? you tellin' me something or are you asking me something? this fool wanted to know if he could join the program, and said he was on his way to earning an undergraduate degree. i was like, well, i can't help you out then. sorry."

this white guy asks, "wait. sac high. is that the school you recommended i interview for?" "yeah," he said. we all laughed. "no, no. don't get me wrong. sac high is a good school. it's a fine school, just so long as superintendent johnson stays out of the picture."

at the end of the day, burnt out from interviews, frustrated with no offer, i picked up three cookies and a brownie. driving back to felton, i ate them all.
do you have any games that aren't math?

i graded math tests all day today. i finished sometime after lunch, and then the kids read from their science books. they're really not learning a damn thing. most kids missed 50+ problems on their tests. while i graded some of them, i was sadly holding my breath to see if there were any that had missed all the problems. there were a few close calls, but i think the biggest loser came in at around minus 82, 83. only two or three broke the minus 80 mark. if i was mr. cramer, i would've said, "man, you guys suck. fetchin' mexicans." and to those who did well, (again if i was mr. cramer) i would've said, "not bad. for a mexican." i got to thinking again today what an awful teacher he was. but i really don't believe in schooling, so it was kind of funny.

i really can't believe they make kids sit through this inane bullshit. they're so far behind that it no longer matters. as i was leaving today, i thought about how i was barely accepted to college. how i just slept everyday after high school because i was so bored and unhappy. i didn't get math, science, or any other subject that wasn't english or theology. i didn't really give a damn, either. then i try imagining myself doing that in mexico, in another language. the result? catastrophe. but there are kids who want to learn. there's veronica who came here from morelia when she was 11. there's rebecca and luis who scored fairly well on the math tests. i just don't get why we're focusing on math and science. let's take the two most boring subjects and try to make english language learners study them. whoever came up with that idea is a jackass.

i fell asleep when i got home. just like the olden days.

i tried working on this story i've been working on. it looked a lot better the last time i looked at it. when it comes to writing, i haven't a clue what i'm doing anymore. i put it all on the page, set it aside for a few weeks, then decide that i hate it. the problem is i'm expecting gold everytime i sit down, and i can't just settle for bronze, or nothing at all. it's like going to the clearance bins at your favorite record store, expecting that out-of-print raincoats debut, but obviously, you don't find it. instead, you grab a handful of cheap, decent cds to temporarily fill the void, and in a matter of days, you regret your purchase. you even sell them back at some point.

so, who are these people? these lauren weisbergers, these dan browns who fill their record collections with shit from the bottom of the clearance bins and convince themselves that what they've got is actually gold? that it's not mass produced bullshit? and where do roald dahl, raymond carver, flannery o'connor come from? they're the kind of people who just walk into the record shop, probably don't even listen to music, and they pull all the cool shit out without even looking. i hate them.

today, katy was listening to the arcade fire. this irked me. i flipped through her collection when she wasn't looking. a burned copy of interpol's antics, pearl jam, dave matthews. typical gringa shit with an elitist friend who probably recommends the indie stuff. i can't take her seriously.

and tonight, i just have to say that i'm unhappy. i don't really want to go into teaching. i want to cherry pick my students, and the chances of me getting a class i like at a school i like are very small. i think that all i really want to do is find someone who likes to play the music that i like to play. i need a collaborator, a muse, somebody who knows what to do and how to do it. this elusive, imaginary person makes me resent everybody. i want to make a documentary that matters, and i want to go places i've never been. i want to build shit, chairs and tables and coatracks, and sell them on craigslist. i want to not be so bored, so frustrated, and to not feel so stuck and useless.

wishful thinking. there are days when i can just shut all of this off. i can take pleasure in cool summer nights and the spanish voices swirling around. the kids playing basketball and volleyball next door, deep into the night. i can take a walk to the plaza and feel like it's the last authentic place in america, devoid of any fast food joints. okay, there is a gottschalks, but it's so shitty, it barely counts.

i like the old war protestors on friday evenings. it makes me feel like somebody still cares about something.

when i was twenty, i stopped being scared of so many things. i started speaking up in class, i asked meagan to be my friend, i talked to my parents about things that mattered, and i talked to random people. i temporarily woke up. slowly though, since then, i fell back asleep, and sadly, i forgot how i did those things. i think it was roald dahl who once said, "i live for the things that i hope to do," but i think i'm living for the hope of waking up again, even if it's just for a short time.

when i look through my journal, my real journal, i always come across the question i keep asking myself since i left school: "weren't we destined for something greater?"
i made it to level 2.

i made more copies this morning. katy asked me to, so i did it. when i got back to the classroom, the class was divided in three groups. i took the one nearest the door. i always do things like that. esteban, the talker, was in the group. he's always saying something in spanish and expecting me to understand. when i don't, everyone laughs. at least they're having a good time. they worked on math problems. i could barely remember how to subtract fractions. this one kid, luis, solved the problems quicker than i could.

during lunch, meagan and i had to "supervise" the students. "what are we supposed to do?" meagan asked. "be a witness to some violence?" i'm in no shape to break up a fight. many of the students are bigger than me, or at least the same size. some random fatboy wearing a grey shirt buttoned to the very top asked me something in spanish. "i don't speak spanish," i said. "you beat him up," the boy said to me. "what? beat up who?" "him!" he said, pointing to another boy wearing a red headband and red shirt. i then realized that the fat one thought i was a sureno because of my blue sweatshirt. little does he know surenos don't shop at the j. crew outlet in gilroy.
there will be consequences.

i didn't recognize katy this morning when meagan and i walked into the room. she curled her hair and looked plumper, pinker, shorter. we were there a half an hour early for no reason. throughout the day, we ran copies, found a stapler, ran more copies, tried to find an answer key. the kids took their math placement test and i read about the titanic - the movie and the actual ship. the band played until the very end, never abandoning ship. i told glenn this. "i don't love music that much," he said. i liked the idea of men all dressed up, ready to go down like gentlemen. i don't know what i would've done.

and speaking of sinking ships, the first day of summer school is over. katy had us introduce ourselves. i'm james. i'm in americorps, not that that means anything to any of you. and probably never will, with any luck. what made me saddest is when katy asked meagan to pass out mints to the students while they took their math test. i should mention today was meagan's birthday. now, imagine her, pissed, unappreciated, underpaid, passing out mints like some stewardess on her birthday. i didn't like it. not one bit. katy thanked her afterward. that's how we volunteers get treated. like retards. DON'T EVER VOLUNTEER. unless you like being treated like a retard.

then liz says we have to attend this staff meeting from 2-4. the meeting, again, had nothing to do with the americorps peasants, yet we were asked to be there anyway. we played the icebreaker, "i love my neighbor." meagan got stuck in the middle. "i love my neighbor who wants to get out of this meeting as early as possible," she said. a few moved. i was one of them.

tonight we watched chris rock's stand-up comedy over a glass (okay, i had three sips) of champagne. it almost made me wish i was funny. almost.

i had the thought today that i should sell everything i own to buy an ibook and a very nice digital camera. i want to create a documentary on standardized tests. i really should do it. i would be able to tell people that i'm a documentary filmmaker, not a fucking volunteer, and be treated like a normal human being.

or maybe i should just suck it up and repeat the mantra, "i'm really not that important" every morning.

yesterday, we threw a surprise party for meagan at aimee's great housesitting gig. besides us, aimee and glenn were there. rachel didn't know when her flight was coming in. it turned out that it was today.

went to san francisco again today. originally, we were supposed to go to napa for meagan's birthday, but when she found out napa was only an hour and a half away from sacramento, she decided to wait until august. so we drove to san francisco. the weather was beautiful again, and this time, dong's girlfriend, jean, came along. we drove to an italian restaurant on columbus and ordered a tre formaggi with a salad for appetizer. columbus avenue was crackin', as dong said, because of the north beach street street fair. crappy local music swirled through the air as we walked down to xox truffles so meagan could indulge in another box.

dong was pretty excited when he saw a basketball in my backseat. "you're playing again?" he asked. "just shooting around every now and then," i said. it got us talking about the old days when we played on the b team. he still resents members of the a team, who really were much terrible in comparison to him. we talked about how alex o'hara didn't even try out, due to an injured arm, but still made the team. how aldo made it because his brother, gino, was best friends with the coach, bert. the injustice of it all. it got me thinking, maybe it was good that i went to an uppity private school, otherwise i might never have hated the rich and capitalism in general.

on a totally unrelated subject, rich finally made it to watsonville. he came in on thursday afternoon. i won't recap the whole thing, but some highlights include:

* when he came back from the lily allen concert in sacramento and found his dad still drinking with his buddy, ernie, in the garage. "where's the girl? where's the girl?" ernie asked. "stupid ernie," rich said, remembering the drunk look on his face. rich telling the story: "then i'm trying to go to sleep because it's like midnight or one, and i hear ernie going to the bathroom and he goes, 'woooo!' like he's at some great fucking party or something. it's just you and my dad! was that 'woooo' really necessary? stupid ernie."

* when playing baseball with the four-year old mexican kid, jason, rich swung at the tennis ball jason was pitching, and the ball hit jason in the stomach. we then taught him how to say, 'woooo!' on cue.

* we watched dream girls. a waste of time, except for rich's favorite line: "you couldn't kill shit."

* the three of us ate clam chowder from sourdough bread bowls.

i just killed a spider that was two feet above from where meagan was sleeping. all is right with the world now.

that's no avion.

i've spent the whole day today sleeping, eating popsicles, drinking 7up/water and watching tv. i feel disgusting. my stomach has been hurting since last night and i was close to throwing up a few times. meagan went to a meeting this morning that was cancelled since glenn and rachel are on vacation and i'm staying home with god knows what. it must've been undercooked chicken. gross. should've stuck to being veggie.

anyway, i was watching a lot of cable news. i didn't actually have the patience to stick around and watch an entire segment - it was just enough to make me feel a little more queasy. one of the top stories was dan rather attacking cbs for dumbing down the news. and this was being debated over some msnbc piece of shit spot, where the news anchor had to conclude the introductory segment with "you know how i feel about that." cable news is really starting to scare the shit out of me. they seem to be hiring any rich old white dude with strong bravado and a love of the death penalty. o'reilly doesn't even bother me that much. it's these new guys (i can't watch long enough to catch their names) that bug me. it makes me sick to know that some people consider what they're watching as legitimate news. it's not news. if i wanted to hear a bunch of underqualified white guys give their half-wit opinions about what they think is important in the world, i'd go to a bar in santa cruz and schmooze with the yuppie crowd.

and i try to keep up with democracy now! but cable access tends to repeat the same talks - veterans criticizing the iraq war, victor villasenor's speech at the mello center = that i don't have the patience to find out what's going on.

liz stoll doesn't have jack for us to do. she promised us real volunteer work this week, but so far, meagan has been shelving books at the library at pajaro valley high school. the whole thing makes me anti-volunteerism. if you're idealistic, get a job that actually means something. if you're just plain lazy, join americorps. meagan and i are planning to launch an anti-americorps website, cirticiziing all that is wrong with the programs we've endured for the past two years. don't get me wrong. i like helping the underserved. but i should've just manned up a long time ago and became a teacher, or a full-time writer. getting yanked around for free is just stupid.

my cousin rich is finally visiting watsonville tomorrow. hopefully my queasiness will have disappeared by then. i don't know what to do with the guy. there's not much to do in watsonville.

yesterday, a woman tina called me kiddo. "i call everyone that - everyone under 40 because i'm 41." so good for you, tina.
you can no be.

this morning meagan, rachel, sister liane and i met with tim, katie flatley, and liz stoll. as expected, we, the americorps team, were assumed to be incompetent, unfit to work with incoming freshmen this summer. of course this was never explicitly stated, but the overall sense of ageism/lack of competency was prevalent, most especially when tim asked, "now, do the volunteers understand when you say, 'ZPD'?" under my breath, i said, "zone of proximal development," which i only really knew because i had studied for the cset (yet another ridiculous, useless test that the state of CA enforces to ensure "teacher competency" thanks to bush's No Child Left Behind Act). but that's not the point. i just hate that americorps is always associated with "kids, students, interns" or other youngsters that can't "get things done." we're just volunteers. we're college grads. we can handle pretty much anything, you assholes.

anyway, tim wasn't all that bad of a dude. at one point, he starts talking to me. i ask him where he used to teach. "how far back you wanna go?" he asks. "i don't know. just recently, i guess." he goes on about how he's had teaching jobs at random rural elementary and middle schools. arbuckle, siskiyou, lodi, chico. okay, maybe not all those places, but you get the drift. definitely arbuckle. i remember because when driving up to ashland with meagan over spring break, we passed arbuckle. for some reason, i made a "yayayaya" sound not unlike a stereotypical native american, then i said, "jon arbuckle." so it was like, "yayayaya! jon arbuckle." meagan laughed and called me crazy.

so after tim tells me all the random places he's taught, and i'm half listening, he pauses. "i had a dream last night." this perks my interests. strangers who share dreams with me are always gold in my book. "i was warming up this thermos in the microwave, and it had like, a glass insulation. so then the principal at my school starts talking to me because he needs me to get something done for tomorrow, and i forget that i'm warming up my thermos. and so the glass breaks inside, and i start drinking it, then all the glass shards are cutting up my throat." he shakes his head. imagine this guy, balding with thick, grey curly hair, dark rimmed glasses, tufts of grey hair emerging from underneath his collared shirt. "i'm always dreaming weird things like that. where i'm getting cut up or hurt. it's really strange. must be an anxiety thing, or getting stressed out, i guess." "must be," i offer.

katie flatley, a blonde art teacher at pajarao valley, kept snacking. every time i looked over, it was an apple, a bag of cashews, grapes, some yogurt. she had to keep eating. i once saw on a news segment these two boys who had to keep eating. some disorder they had. they sat in the back of their classroom and kept eating. i didn't get it. if i had to keep stuffing myself with something all day because i could never feel full, i'd be pretty miserable. i don't think that's the case with katie, though. earlier in the morning, when she found out meagan and i went to seattle university, she said, "seattle. i've never been there." awkward silence. "well, it's a cool town," i said. "they've got the rock and roll museum there, right?" "yeah," i said. "have you ever been?" "mm-hmm."

after we loaded some books into liz's green van, the one with the mystery spot sticker attached to the bumper, she had some more boxes for us to load. we put them on a cart. while doing this, a voice called out from an adjacent office. "liz, can i borrow one of your helpers for a little bit? they busy?" great. now i'm not just a volunteer. i'm a "helper." what am i? a fucking elf? luckily, rachel was called to make copies for ten minutes. i might've lost it if meagan or i had to.

when we did make copies, though, meagan thought about stealing the book stapler. she wants a copy machine, a paper cutter, and a book stapler. essential components to create the essential zine. we should've taken them. even the copier. i folded sixty math placement tests while meagan stapled them down the middle. rachel sat on them. i made her sit on them.

at 3:30 sister liane wanted us to play with some 4 year old boy named jason. his english isn't very good, but he talk pretty one day. we didn't really know what to do with him. all sister liane could offer was, "use a lot of english around him." thank god, it's the only language i know. "make sure he knows colors, numbers one through five, and directions, like 'stand, sit, run,' and up and down." like a dog. so we attacked the playground, and he warmed up to us. he looked like a mexican version of danny from the shining. "how do you say, 'redrum' in spanish?" i asked meagan. she didn't know 'rum.' anyway, the kid was a cool kid. he ran up and down the playground, answered every time i asked him what color something was. "what color is the slide?" "blue!" "what color is your shirt?" "green!" i made him shoot a basket on the small basketball court. he airballed. i asked him to try again and he looked really sad and frustrated that i had asked him. i didn't try again. meagan chased him on the playground. "i'm gonna catch you!" she yelled. "you cannot beat!" he repeated. then, when he was out of breath, "you can no be!"

we sat by the flowers when his mom chatted with sister liane. his sister, kathy, and his brother, tino, sat near them. i tried to explain spider webs to him, and i think he understood. "what color are the flowers?" "pink!" i didn't think he'd know that one. he wanted to slide down the handrail. "be careful," i said. "you catch" he said. "catch you?" "yes, you catch." i helped him on the handrail, and he sat on it. "slide down," i said. he just sat there, frozen. he couldn't slide the way he wanted to. i helped him along a little then brought him down. he ran around the flowers some more, and i pointed out a bee to him. "de pico?" he said. i asked kathy what he was saying. "he wants to know if they sting." "oh yes," i said. "de pico."

i wish i had that job. where i could just go around telling kids the names of things. "bee. flower. dogs. health insurance. 401k. life." i could handle that. at least i'll have it part time for the next few weeks.
last day of school.

today is my last day at watsonville high. i won't go into missing this school; i've already done that. i didn't, however, bother going to mrs. hansen's class. the kids don't know me very well, and i barely know their names anyway. instead, i tried to go to the library to print out some old lesson plans that i've created throughout the year, but the library was closed. i went to the career center to use their computer, but the secretary said the printer hasn't been fixed yet. then i went back to our office, tried all three computers, and none of them would successfully print. the perks of being in a public school.

i saw mrs. hansen leading her class to the bookroom so that they could return their books. she blew bubbles as she trailed behind them. this one girl, chelsea i think her name is, reached up to pop one.

i plan on visiting mr. rhodes' 5-6 period class one last time and then visit mr. cramer's 6th period class. i should've brought something, but i didn't estoy flojo.

aimee gets back tonight, which means that the four of us - meagan, rachel, aimee and i - can finally watch boogie nights. that's the one bad thing about watsonville. any time you really want to do something, for example, watch boogie nights, it turns out you have to drive all the way back to sacramento to borrow it from your cousin because none of the local stores have it. their excuse is always the same, "someone rented it and never returned it." you think they'd be wise enough to replace the copy after x number of months. not so.

gringo slept through first period. seniors. they don't have to be here this week.

all i want to do is make copies of my lesson plans and work on creating my teaching portfolio, but none of the resources at this school will allow me to do it. oh well. i'll miss this place anyway. i hope to work here one day. a place where a man can't really get anything done.
the spirit of gleaning.

once, after having seen the documentary the gleaners and i, meagan and i went a walkin' and spotted a giant green antique dresser on the side of the road on 22nd ave. in seattle. it was a real fixer upper - needed a nice new sanding job, new paint, new handles, etc. but we still decided we wanted it. it was only march. we had a few months to fix it up. we tried to lift it. it was the single heaviest piece of furniture i'd ever touched. still, after many stopping breaks, we managed to drag the huge beast into our basement.

it sat there until june.

when we decided it was time to get it out of there, that we didn't have any time or energy to work on it, neil (meagan's friend) and i lifted it out of there, with the intention of dragging it to a dumpster or abandoned lot. instead, we carried it to the end of the alley (about 50 feet away) and left it on the sidewalk. "this is probably good enough," i said. he shrugged his shoulders and set it down. we walked away, supressing our guilty laughter.

it sat on the sidewalk for at least three weeks until some other sucker picked it up.
teachers love that.

last two days here at watsonville high. i'm gonna miss this brokedown place. mr. rhodes' chanting, "do you wash the dishes everyday?" kathryn playing her baseball and basketball games with the kids, giving them a chance to hit or shoot even if they don't know "two" vs. "too." and mr. cramer threatening to beat his students like the "stepchilds that they is" (his words, not mine). i'll miss the dumpy staff bathroom we used at the beginning of the year, that always smelled of lysol and had a large fan running whenever you walked in. baudel asking me if i'm a "scrap" because i chose to wear blue that day. sonia calling me a "northsider." israel telling me his plan after high school is to sell drugs. darren trying to sell me his zoom. karym, acting a fool, dancing or praising jim carrey. mireya, sitting at my desk, doing a job more important than mine. jesus rivera writing so small and so lightly that you can barely read it. yovani not understanding a damn word i say. edgar asking me if i'll stay after school and then him never showing up. ana running toward me with a handful of poems. jorge vasquez reading in spanish when he should be reading in english. miriam always giving me an overly enthusiastic"hiii jaaaames!" erik saying, "salud" whenever i sneeze, then saying "de nada" when i don't respond. eli asking me if i've heard of some band, the decemberists, or the flaming lips, or dragonforce. frankie and oswaldo saying they don't know, they give up. rene asking, "did cecilia already go to lunch" in his heavy accent. beatriz, greeting me for the first time all year out of the blue, because she has finally passed the english portion of the cahsee.

i leave a thank you note with the secretary to put in kathryn's box. i forgot that she only works with seniors this week, and that they don't have class anymore. "sure, i can do that," the secretary says. "she'll appreciate it. teachers love that."
i think you need a new one.

my dad's out looking for a car today. a new toyota corolla. when i have real money and can afford to buy a car, i'm going to run it until it no longer runs. my pre-calculus teacher, mr zielke, once advised us, "Buy the best house on the block, and the shittiest car on the lot." i'll do that.

i wasted a lot of time yesterday, playing Deadrising and Guitar Hero with byron. it makes me sad, watching my cousins turn into zombies in front of their hdtv's. watching my parents veg out to the cooking channel. it scares me that complacency comes so easily. that i can become just as guilty, too. i told my mom about composting. she seemed halfway interested. "that's a nice pail," she said, as i showed her a compost pail online. "is it free?"

last night, rich seemed distant, eating sunflower seeds, just getting off work. i don't know what it is. maybe he's tired of me just showing up when i feel like it, demanding to play music when i feel like it. byron used his laptop to record our 4 song jam session. i tried to play 2 new songs that i wrote. they didn't turn out as great as i had originally hoped. we'll try again later.

sacramento is disgustingly hot. it's only going to get worse in july. the heat just gets trapped in the valley, not blown away like in watsonville, in seattle. i hate the inside of my car when it's been sitting outside.

my mom's watching the food network. she gets up every now and then during commercial breaks to pull something from the kitchen. i tapped her on the head and said, "you're watching too much tv," as she used to tell me when i was younger. she came in to the kitchen and tapped my head. "you're watching too much computer," she said.