School Update

Maybe it’s just me, maybe I will always get more than I bargained for.

My first tatoo is much bigger than I had hoped for… covering up a very small tat the original intention… it truthfully covers up my left shoulder.

That’s how I feel about Math 03, I signed up and knew I’d get “pre-Algebra”… we’ve got Geometry, and real Algebra… wow, more than I bargained for.
My current Math grade is 90% (out of 100).

… about Psychology 201, I signed up for the fun crazy people parts (kidding)… suddenly, I have to know about the forebrain, hindbrain… eyes, nose, tongue… wow, more than I bargained for.
My current Psy 201 Grade is unknown, I’ll know on Monday how well I did on the first exam, my first homework assignment I received a 10/10.

My Introduction to Computer Applications class is boring… the “teacher” tells us to do the exercise in the book … he plays on his PC.
My current ITE 100 grade is unknown, the test is this coming Monday, I foresee no problems.

My Composition class is going well, my first essay was a resounding success… my revisions to that essay will be turned in for a grade on Tuesday.

My Student Development Class, which I HATE… I’ve gotten 100%’s and A’s on everything I’ve handed in… and an A on my presentation on Alcohol.

I’d say things are going well, but I don’t want to jinx it.

Hoodlums and Vandals

Screwing with my bike while I’m in class.
Moving the gears, adjusting the seat…

Pain and Memory

Awakening in pain, fear or uncertainty my sister and I seemed to know when father beat mother. Sneaking out of our bedrooms, tears already streaming down our faces, we venture out to check on our mom’s well being. Hearing her scream, “Joe, NO don’t! Please stop”, seeing his fist flying, smelling alcohol in the air; these are some of the nights from my childhood.

They would see us cowering in our pajamas in the hallway. Mother would plead again for him to stop, but Joe tended to get inspired, an audience lifted his cruelty to new heights. It usually ended with Joe passing out, or Mother fleeing to our rooms, assuring us he normally didn’t hit her or that she upset him.

At times we fled to shelters, escorted by police, or secretly in the night. Fear can engulf you in a shelter; despair on the faces of strangers contaminates your soul. You quickly learn to give up hope, not due to the shelter, but because you know you’ll go back to HIM.

It becomes a secret to the family, the unspoken word, the dreaded return. There are many attempts at reconciliation, they are all failure. As children we wondered why she kept asking him back. A part of me conflicted with fear and hatred of this man, and the understanding that I am supposed to love my dad.

One particular night, he noticed my revulsion, and asked me “You think I’m a son of a bitch don’t ya.”

“Yeah, I do”.

Saint Thomas

I don’t think there is a St Gary, so I had to use his real name: Thomas

Gary, my ex-roommate, came to visit me and the cats this weekend. His commute down was quite long on Saturday morning, but not so bad on his way back on Sunday. I gave a tour of the area; showing him my route to school, my favorite restaurants, shopping areas and we drove out to the beach.

Saturday night we ventured out to “The Garage”, a gay bar in the heart of Norfolk’s gay district (Ghent), only to discover later we were there much to early. The sights we saw there were not tremendously appealing.

Sunday, after a nice breakfast at IHOP, Gary (St Thomas) purchased a ton of groceries for me. He truly is a sweet guy, and I know if I get in a bind I can count on him to help me out.

My essay, the reaction

As stated in the earlier post, my essay was a rough draft. Two students and the Professor read the essay; commenting and marking it up. All readers stated the enjoyment of it, they all pointed toward the first paragraph as the one that they found powerful or striking grabbing their attention from the get go…

But, the best part of that day… The Professor walked into the room, looked directly at me and said: “James, your a real writer.”

Now, I edit my own work… removing “to be” verbs… fixing or removing entire paragraphs… changing a few pronouns… ad infinitum.

The Kite Runner

Why I read “The Kite Runner” is an interesting story…

First, my Ma asked me if I had read it when she was in DC to visit this summer. I said no, but seemed a little interested in the book.
Secondly, Suzanne’s mom asked me if I had read it, which was one of them motherly things… I think mothers are all in the same guild or something.
Third, my English Professor walked into class with the book on tape…
If that’s not God trying to tell me something I don’t know what is.

So, what did I think of the book…
Wow, fabulous storytelling. The story is about so many tragic things, and one terribly preventable thing that sticks with the main character throughout the story. I found the book enchanting, such a different view of the world. I don’t want to spoil the story, and I know it’s been out for a while, but if you haven’t read The Kite Runner; your missing out on one of the best stories I’ve read in a good long time.

One Month

It’s been one month since the first day of school. There are some stark differences between this round of school and the last (1988):

This time, I actually go to class
Last time, I was too hung over, still drunk or stoned

This time, I actually have my books
Last time, I figured why bother, I bought the philosphy book, but lost it soon after

This time, I take notes
Last time, I didn’t even bring paper

This time, I’m doing homework
Last time, I wasn’t aware there was homework

I think I may have been to class more times in the last month, than I was the entire semester at WSU (Winona State University). I not just the lack of alcohol, drugs or cigarettes… I’m more grown up… can u believe I said that? “Holy rusted metal Batman.”… what’s the world coming to?

Math Test Results

This is basic Math/pre-Algebra we’re talking about here. The test had 20 questions worth 5 points each. My score was 86%. My overall course grade right now is 91. I need to stay above 80 to pass this class.

I know what your thinking, I do, I should be thinking it too: That’s good Jamez.

But, I’m not, I think about all the things I did wrong on the test, and why did I do them wrong on the test? It says add, I multiply… it says divide I subract… what the hell goes on in that head of mine?!?

I was so wrapped up in not doing better than 86%, that I could barely comprehend what the teacher was talking about for our next assignment (or it was just that complex that my small brain couldn’t comprehend it). Actually, I didn’t do too bad on the practice questions in class, but still failed to do the proper action on the problems… again adding instead of dividing and so on.

Pity me, o Pity me! I’ll get over it.

My First Essay: My Knuckles Are White

This was the first essay I submitted for my ENG 111 (Composition) Class. Try to remember he asked for a rough draft, not to make it look pretty, with proper punctuation and such… he said revision is where the class gets to participate and see us improve. Enjoy… I hope:

My Knuckles Are White
My knuckles are white, my palms sweaty; my neck has a crick and there is a throbbing pain in my right leg as it hovers over the brake pedal. My hands positioned at ten and two rarely move. I set the cruise control to just over the speed limit, I don’t want to annoy other drivers or speed. When I drive, I imagine the worst things that can happen; if there is a semi to the right I imagine careening into it; perishing as the vehicle is engulfed in flames. Cars in front of me and I assume they will suddenly stop causing me to impact with them head on, flipping over and taking my life… or worse surviving. If I need to adjust the thermostat or wipe the sweat from my hands then the grip of the remaining hand is that much tighter. I’m not a driver, I don’t feel comfortable behind the wheel of a moving vehicle and I doubt I ever will. I obtained my license at the age of 24, eight years after most people. I hoped that by watching other people drive, I may learn some trick or secret that will help me to relax.

Observing my friend Suzanne behind the wheel is a portrait in contrast to me. She has one leg crossed over the other, one hand on her cell phone one on the wheel and she’s chewing gum. Somehow she knows where everything is; she notices the girl in the right lane that won’t let her in, I didn’t see her. She plans ahead, knowing the traffic patterns like the back of her hand, taking this right or that left to avoid the congestion. She’s called me from her car to read things. Suzanne loves to drive, she says she feels relaxed.

Another friend Mark, is an aggressive driver, always screaming at other drivers for something they did that he found to be exceptionally stupid, or kept him from his task. I remind him that we live in a dangerous city and his behaviors may get him shot one day. He’s just as dangerous as a pedestrian; he’s been known to bang on drivers hoods if they’re stopped in the crosswalk. Mark’s license has been suspended, but that doesn’t stop him, he loves to drive.

My roommate, Gary, is at home behind the wheel; relaxed, yet vigilant, steady and true. He loves to drive, rarely goes over the speed limit and always seems to know his way around. Yet, when I’m a passenger in his car, I find myself stepping on the imaginary brake pedal frequently. I’ve driven the car, the brakes should be replaced, I know how it handles; but he just drives how he wants to drive with never a care in the world, ever confident he’ll foresee any dangers.

Randy says driving during the day makes him tired, yet at night there is a surge of adrenaline that keeps him awake. He should wear his glasses when he drives, but vanity, arrogance or stubbornness keeps him from wearing them. He’s a practical driver; he drives when he has to drive, to accomplish a purpose. He finds driving a waste of time, one of those necessary things that a person has to do.

I missed the vital experiences from a young mans teenage years; normally filled with cars, motors, and speeding around the neighborhoods. I entered foster care when I was fifteen and even thou I had completed Drivers Education, I didn’t actually have a learner’s permit or any experience behind the wheel. My foster parents couldn’t assume responsibility for my driving and my Mother was unwilling to. I was dependent on friends to drive me around, or I could walk. One of the benefits of small town Wisconsin is that you can walk almost anywhere. I could walk to school; to parties, or walk away from parties… and there was always hitchhiking!

Not that I didn’t manage to drive illegally when I was younger. I remember one such incident where I was awoken from a drunken slumber, as it was assumed I was the soberest, having had an hour of sleep. Yet, while backing the beautifully restored MGB two-seater convertible out I managed to side swipe the car next to us. The owner of the car I was driving insisted that I get the hell out of there, so go I did. He later took all the blame for the incident, but I’m fairly certain his parents knew he wasn’t behind the wheel.

I was twenty-one the first time I took my drivers test, or at least that was the plan. One of my drinking buddies let me use his car for the test, but I had never driven the actual car. When it came time to get behind the wheel and the examiner was asking me to check things out. I had no idea where the dimmer for the lights was. We never left the parking lot that was the end of the test.

At the age of twenty-three I managed to get clean and sober. My friend, Nancy, was kind enough to allow me to not only practice in her car, but to use it for the exam as well. The written exam was a piece of cake. When it was time for the driving part I was incredibly nervous, but managed to make it out of the lot this time. The instructor had me do some simple maneuvers around the neighborhood, and didn’t even ask me to parallel park. Part of me thinks he felt sorry for the twenty-four year old that didn’t have a license and let me off easy, but who am I to complain?

For the last seven years I’ve been living in Washington, DC. On the Metro, DC’s subway system, you can get to almost every area of the city and surrounding suburbs, almost echoing exactly their Beltway. Once you’ve reached your destination, you can take one of the different buses to your final destination, or in many cases walk. The first two years in our Nation’s capital I took both the bus and the Metro, and for the last five I’ve only had to take the bus. A twenty minute ride on the bus is relaxing compared to the hour of so my co-workers commuted in their motor vehicles. Driving my roommate’s car to pick him up at the airport was about the extent of my driving in the city.

Now here I am in Chesapeake, VA; gas is suddenly $3.20 a gallon. I’ve recently bought a bicycle to get around. Between the stresses I feel driving and the stress on my wallet, there’s no way I can afford to drive. I’m content being a pedestrian and a passenger for now at least.

Universal Law

I was doing my Math homework last night, and I had one of those thoughts: “Maybe math isn’t as hard as I thought it was.”

There are laws written into the universe that activate WHENEVER someone utters anything even slightly similar to this, causing their brain to malfuncition. That’s exactly what happened, I was going along, my problems seemed to come out properly and then BOOM, no idea how to do a question… all of my attempts weren’t even close to the answer.

It’s not all bad, it was one questions out of perhaps 40 or so that I couldn’t figure out, but I have a test today in Math, the last thing I need is doubt!