ok maybe...

I am not so crazy about A's new school.

Maybe A got locked out of his room one evening --- At 12:41 AM (an event which I will call "the incident") and no adults responded. At all.

Maybe on the same night, at 12:42 AM, A noticed that he had his cellphone on hand and called his dorm advisor on duty -- but the dorm advisor did not respond. Then LaMai called and also got no response. Then LaMai called the other dorm advisor. No response. Then the dorm adult down the hall. No response. Then LaMai left emails. No response until two days later. Then A called campus security for help getting back into his room now that it was 1:15 AM (an event which I will call "the incident equivalent to calling the police").

Perhaps also the Form Advisor actually questioned LaMai about LaMai's Honesty and if LaMai Had Actually Reached Out To The Registrar About Correct French Class Placement Before A Started School This Fall (an event which I will call "the alleged non-incident.") Maybe LaMai, as a result, thinks the Form Advisor is a supreme jerk as a result of his belief that "the alleged non-incident" is actually true.

Maybe IAAR! is truly intolerable. Because the ammonia smells from IAAR!'s dirty laundry invading A's airspace are now just A Little Too Much.

And then, there's the Fight Club thing. Oh yes. It happened. An actual Fight Club was formed. At my kid's dorm.

And then, there's the Fight Club Decree That Fight Club Shall No Longer Exist enacted by my kid's dorm advisor.

Perhaps tonight there was also The History Assignment. For which A stated he was sure to get an "F."

After which LaMai said, "Oh, good G-d, just come the hell home."

LaMai cannot sleep.


home for the long weekend

A is home for the long weekend. It is also his b-day weekend.

Yesterday, A's school (BTBSA) held parent-teacher conferences and I took the day off work to travel there and participate.

I also got to sit in on A's classes. I was honestly surprised with the quality of the teaching. The teachers seemed great, amazingly well qualified and engaging. After classes was an abnormally long (compared to A's normal schedule) lunch totaling two hours, then the parent-teacher conferencing.

The conferencing was done in the athletic center, conducted like a cross between a job fair and speed dating session on academic steroids. All the teachers were lined up in rows, divided and labeled with placards in the special school font, by subject, and every eight minutes, a bell would go off (that was the parents' cue to get the hell out and on to the next teacher).

Furious handshakes. Look down at the schedule for the next teacher and time. Switch.

I made it to the coffee/apple cider/cookies station several times.

I observed parents behaving badly.

One parent could not erase a frown off her face. She was Asian, impeccably dressed in Textiles and Designs You Clearly Cannot Get In The U.S. Her face was very long, and very intricately painted (red being the marquee color), so the frown effect made her look like a dragon lady who had smelled something seriously foul. She sat next to me during Chinese class. I was scared. Apparently, she did not approve of A's Mandarin teacher. Maybe the teacher was too "yo, homegirl!" too "country bumpkin" and messy-haired for this sophisticated Hong Kong mother. I don't know. I love A's Mandarin teacher. I love that as soon as she walked in to her classroom and immediately began asking her students questions in Mandarin, they answered in their new language without hesitation. She could have the Chinese equivalent of a Roadside At The Hicksville Trailer Truck Stop Cafe accent, but I love that she is energetic, and can talk to me in English and smile at the same time. Some things just don't need translation.

Another mother, a waify blond-haired thing in A Very Serious Shade of Purple, without saying anything or introducing herself to me, leaned over and looked at my name card and deliberately began flipping pages in her copy of the school facebook. She was clearly searching for a name that matched mine.

I was finally able to meet A's favorite teacher -- his "G-d" of English Literature, the Leader and Middle Ground, the "agon" in the struggle (neither "prot" nor "ant"), the self-efffacing, the mu yet the all-knowing, the O Captain My Captain who will lead the young ones to The Truth. His name is Mr. Magnificent. "Your son is veddy tall," he told me with a smile. "And I am veddy short."

I swear that was the juice of my meeting with Mr. Magnificent.

The surprise of the day was finding a homeschool student from A's homeschool group in New York, now at BTBSA. The homeschooler is named M. She is one of the anti-Darwins, but I guess A might take comfort knowing that someone, a vestigial relation from his small educational universe, evolved sufficiently to land in his new school.

I have cake to buy. Have a good weekend, everyone.


dum dum dum...


*The science wing at A's new school. So much nicer than my undergraduate science building. I want my Stafford Loan money back.

So A got his first midterm report. He is doing well in his classes at his new school and well in Chemistry, which he took over the summer at a NY university. I am happy that despite his rowing, DJing, and wanting to be admitted to the Arts Concentration Program...he is doing okay, academically.

The downside is he frequently tells me he cannot talk to me on the phone because he's busy studying.

His essays need work. I think this is a common homeschoolers' issue. Fluidity, coherence, being on point, sharp-shooting your argument. His current school -- which is not Taft (ha!), and not in Massachusetts (ha ha!) -- grades really tough on the essays. It's annoying and it hurts. But it'll make him a stronger writer, I say.

Today A took the PSAT, which was mandatory, then he helped another school crew team prepare for the Head of the Charles regatta (for those not in the know, it's the American equivalent of the Royal Henley Regatta in England). He volunteered to row starboard for another school in need -- because they were missing two rowers today.

His roommate (who I will call "I am a Republican!" because that is what he calls himself, "IAAR!" for short), turns out, is a legacy kid. Great-granchild of RockeMelloCarnegsomebody. I still don't get why IAAR! needs to borrow money from my A. And tells other students that A has no friends (I guess Asian friends don't count?).

IAAR! chimed up in class last week to report that global warming is a fiction. I am wondering if he has been to Greenland lately. A tells me that IAAR!'s dirty clothes are now inching precariously close to his side of the room. One of IAAR's sweat-soaked shirts may have touched A's desk chair.

A is so tolerant of IAAR!. I would be less Ghandhi-like if he were my roommate.

Then, there's the school radio station. Ah, yes. Here's A's playlist his first night DJing for the school radio station:

The Man Who Sold the World - Nirvana (unplugged)
Life On Mars? - Seu Jorge
If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day - Robert Johnson
Hear My Train A Comin' (Acoustic Version)- Jimi Hendrix
Mannish Boy - Muddy Waters
Happy Jack - The Who
Jumpin' Jack Flash - The Rolling Stones
Jynweythek Ylow - Aphex Twin
Street Fighting Man - The Rolling Stones
Hong Kong Garden (With Strings Intro) - Siouxsie and The Banshees
Renegades of Funk - Rage Against The Machine
Izabella (Live at Woodstock Remastered in 1999) - Jimi Hendrix
Woodstock Improvisation (Live at Woodstock Remastered in 1999) - Jimi Hendrix
Villanova Junction (Live at Woodstock Remastered in 1999) - Jimi Hendrix
War Within a Breath - Rage Against The Machine
Lover Man (Live at Woodstock Remastered in 1999) - Jimi Hendrix
Life On Mars? - David Bowie
Money (That's What I Want) - Buddy Guy
I'm Waiting For The Man - The Velvet Underground and Nico
Rollin 'n' Tumblin' - Canned Heat
Crossroads - Cream
Straight Ahead - Jimi Hendrix
Queen Bitch - David Bowie

Can you tell he likes Jimi Hendrix? After his first night DJing and reading the playlist, I explained about not overdosing his audience with one band or musician...break them in lightly, so that they want more. And I never listened to many of the bands/musicians listed. I was surprised with his ability to convey the nuance of music identity -- the two first songs are David Bowie songs, covered by other musicians, one a Brazilian acoustic guitar guy.

And it's all stuff he discovered on his own. I promise, we're not hippies.

And speaking of not being hippies, I was at Hilly's memorial service two nights ago. A Ramone spoke, a Talking Head spoke, a Dead Boy spoke, a Shirt spoke, a Living Color singer spoke, a Television guy spoke, a Richard Hell spoke, a music producer from England spoke, and then everybody drank.

Just like the old man would have wanted.

I miss the old man.