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I Find it Hard to Tell You Cause I Find it Hard to Take
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in The Writing of the Riner's Bio's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, September 7th, 2005
11:00 pm
September 9th
The Knitting Factory
7021 Hollywood Blvd
$7, ALL AGES, 8:00


8:00- Enid the dowl
9:00- NT and The Boys
10:00- A film by Stephen James
10:10- Loverlee
11:00- The Bentleys
12:00- New Maximum Donkey

I hope to see you there!!

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005
10:05 pm
Tonight, the new band I'm in, LOVERLEE, played our set the whole way through with all members present for the first time, and we're really excited! It's such a great group of people and a lot of fun and far different from anything I've done before. I hope you'll join us for my birthday party which is also our debut show!

Friday, September 9th
The Knitting Factory, Alterknit Lounge
7021 Hollywood Blvd
Featuring performances by:
Loverlee, Enid The Dowl, Naked Trucker, The Bentleys, New Maximum Donkey
8pm, all ages, $7
Wednesday, October 13th, 2004
7:52 am
So, if there is anything that can take me out of my LJ exile it is the girlish excitement about the following thing:

It was a trip on Gilmore Girls last night, when Laine not only mentioned Rilo Kiley, but specifically the relationship between Blake and Jenny and then was playing one song from before the break up to compare to a song after. I was cracking up.

So there.

Meanwhile, school is already at it's fifth week, which is weird. Time has been rushing swiftly past. And it has been so great. I feel so lucky to be doing what I've always wanted to do... And the school I'm at is perfect for me- insanely supportive and very social and open minded. I'm having so much fun and learning a ton. It is quite time consuming here at the start, but I was expecting it to be, so that's not too bad. I also pretty much know where I'm moving at the end of the year, it's not the dream apartment I was going for (which was a bit ambitious), but considering I'm goin to be saving about $700 a month, it's not too much of a compromise.. and I can do more cool things like go up to San Fran for a few days next weekend for the Bridge School Benefit Concert. And hopefully New York next month where I also hope to see RENT.

Well, I should probably get dressed. I am glad that Wednesdays are my days which I don't have to go in until 9am considering how late i was out last night. yikes!

Things are good. Thanks for asking.
Monday, September 6th, 2004
11:50 pm
Song of Myself
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

Remember my entry about how some timing in my life occurs as if planned? When I decided that I would make my last post on the day before school starts- being a big day and turning point- I didn't know the school schedule yet, I had no idea that my last post would be taking place on my birthday, which fits perfectly.

Where to start? There's a lot I've been thinking of saying, maybe being too ceremonious about it all, but like I said, this LiveJournal has been a huge part of my life and the best record of the past three years or so of it, so it is kind of a big deal.

The past three years? Most notably they've been my college years. And I've kind of always wrestled with the idea that I did not like my college experience, mostly because I didn't have one! I lived on campus and hated it, I wasn't very social, I didn't get to "go away" to college and experience that, and I passed up quite a few "hang out" times to do my homework. Recently I've been coming to terms with this- basically I'd been focused on the "college life" I didn't have, instead of appreciating the one I did have (a silly trap to get into).

I didn't "go away" because of my bands and the music I was pursuing, sometimes I seemed to tell myself it was some sort of reflection on me. While I'll never know what would have happened had I gone to school away, I am proud of what I did with music while I stuck around. Additionally, my choices have left me in a position now with no loans to pay back. And while I didn't experience the TV version of college, I did well. I made and kept a wide variety of friends who I adore, and had a ton of amazing experiences in the stead. And while I wasn't pimpin' out to drunk girls at frat parties, I've had some very good (and long) relationships with beautiful girls who've been very important to me, which, despite how they may have ended up, I am very lucky to have had, and I wouldn't dare have it the other way around. As for grades; how many people do you know have had their college grades projected up 10 feet high on a wall so they could be applauded by big wigs at IBM and had the CEO ask if those really were their grades? Well, me for one. I've had a lot of fun, unusual experiences in my life. Things to tell stories about (I'm almost Edward Bloom from Big Fish)... like having Lisa Loeb serve me pizza along with Pee Wee Herman, Matt Groening, and Larry Flynt at the Zappa house or having my favorite band tell me that I am their favorite and plead for me be in their video. Becky says there's something subtle about me that attracts unusual experiences, I guess that's true, cause there are a few such instances- those were just two.

THIS YEAR has been one of very definite extremes. I remember mentioning in a post very early in the year how I kept hearing that 2004 would be a very big year, and it really has been.

Things are insanely different now as compared to at the start of the year. The first couple months were extremely social. I experienced a very secure independence, getting out and seeing people and doing things I normally wouldn't- using the time to force myself out of my comfort zone while also remaining committed and optimistic about the relationship I was in. The relationship did however end in confusion, misunderstandings, and frustration. At the same time I was doing my student teaching and really doing well while also reconnecting with some important people I hadn't seen in a while. So for a month or two, life was this really strange mix of being emotionally stripped- hearing such sweet kind things from people while also feeling very weak, foolish, and fumbling to grasp at strings. I regret getting that low, but at the same time I'm confident that while I may not have been holding the best pose at certain points, I acted in ways that were true to who I am and what I believe in. I didn't lie, mislead, or play games. I meant the things I said and I acted pure to myself, which is a virtue even if it could be ungraceful at times.

All these ups and downs have had a strange affect on me- making me reflect on who I am, what I stand for, how I interact with people, and further, questioning the things that make me who I am. I was tossing around all these questions of values- why be good or nice when you don't get treated like it? Why work so hard at school if you're missing out on other things? Why take pride in providing for myself and struggling while other people can just get money from their parents? Other people don't do those things and seem to enjoy rewards and be more carefree seemingly without problems in how they or other people viewed them. But at the same time, that's just who I am. People can count on me, I'm reliable, and honest. Sometimes it's hard to see that those are good things when difficult times come. It's a depressing place to be in emotionally when you have to talk yourself into accepting it.

A lot of this stuff has come to rest recently though. I've evaluated and discussed them with friends, but mostly it's because I've realized that now is the pay off.

For as long as I can remember, I've had the same two dreams for myself that I've always been working for and dedicated to- to be a musician and to be a teacher.

I'm 23... I've accomplished both.

With my music, I've fronted two bands I'm very proud of. My biggest accomplishment was completing a cross country tour with one of my bands by 21. Not only did we do a tour, which most bands never do, but our first one was a full month all across the country during which we made money playing music we wrote along side bands and people I adore. I've played to an audience of hundreds of people numerous times, and had a bunch of them sing along. I've even signed autographs. Our music has been played on some of the biggest college and independent radio stations across the country without any money backing the recordings. I've been recognized by strangers who told me they liked my bands. Recently, one of my bands landed a residency at the Knitting Factory, and if Friday's show was any indication, things are still in a good place.

As for teaching- I've started my ideal career not having to make any compromises or settling for anything. My hard work has garnered me a teaching position at a great school with great people where I can be myself and have the freedom and support to do what I want. On top of that, I'm earning a really good paycheck and have complete healthcare for no charge. I'm not going to have to worry about money for quite a while or have it be an issue in a relationship. I've earned this, and it is really ideal for me. I'm working a job that is not only fun (which is rare enough) but something I'm proud of and believe in. It's an awesome place to be.

So here I am. Just turning 24 and having achieved my biggest goals in big ways. That makes me feel good about myself and the choices I've made. So now what? Well, besides continue to improve upon those which I've already met, here's some new goals off the top of my head (aided by not having LJ posts to work on):
1)Write my screenplay of Whitman's Leaves of Grass
2)Write my children's book Fish in Flannel
3)type letters to people
4)and of course- youngest Teacher of the Year in Burbank ;)

I feel like I'm in the right place in so many ways and have come to appreciate things I didn't before, I feel like I've improved myself. So it's a good time to make my last post here, I wont rehash the reasons why, but its time to move on from some things to appreciate and pursue more.

Thanks to the people who've been reading, commenting, and friendly with me in this little venue through the years, my goal is to keep up with as many of you as I can without the LJ middleman. A few months ago I did create a "secret" LJ name I didn't really use and I may post there occasionally. The screen name is not hard to find, but I'm not sure how much I'll use that if at all. You can keep in touch via email popgirlalice@hotmail.com or AIM: socialboot. Or send me postal mail even! PO Box 902 Burbank CA 91503. How I love postal mail!

This all sounded kind of grandiose (and featured my classic long-windedness), but that's OK once in a while isn't it? I just have been feeling like I've actually accomplished things. I'm really happy with where I am- starting a job at a place where I really feel like I belong, enjoying the single life, enjoying a whole bunch of great friends- and proud of the things I've done and accomplished. I'm happy, and ready to start the new chapter. Thanks for your friendship.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.
11:44 am
Song quotes
"So let these tiny acts of charity become common ground
of which to build a monument, to commemorate our time.
And though, you say, you've found another who will surely speed you on your way,
don't let the forest grow over that you came there by..."

(bright eyes)

Over the past few months in my personal journal I've been keeping a list of songs by a wide variety of bands that summed up how I'd been feeling in better words than i could come up with. A couple of those I've had in mind for using today for a summary of sorts.. but none of them fit like the used to in the way they used to. Funny how that works, the words of note change, the sentiments alter. Maybe I shoulda just posted them at the time. Maybe it was just for me.
Sunday, September 5th, 2004
2:15 pm
Birthday Weekend
The past two days have been fun, but quite exhausting.

Friday i spent a whole 8 hour day in my classroom. Seeing as it was the last day before the students come i had to get a bunch of stuff straightened out and set up. Andrea came and helped me out for a bit. I like having an assistant. She helped me staple and hole punch my guidelines.. huh? what? YES! I have guidelines. You know those pages you ignored but the teacher acted like they were really important and your parents had to sign them for homework? I HAVE THOSE. Weird. I think I'm ready for school. I have my first two days planned, with some more work to figure out the rest of the week, but I'm pretty darn ready and excited.

Well, we left the school, were joined by Becky and headed to my birthday show! at the Knitting Factory (Becky and Andrea are now BFF which is cool because its basically my two best buddies right now being able to hangout and have fun). I was really tired when we got there, but perked up as the show started. I had so much fun! and things went so well. We sold the night out again and there was a pretty heavy audience the whole night through, which was great. One of the new teachers from my school came and brought friends, but there weren't enough tickets for all of them. Fortunately she got in though. I was so excited to see people there that I don't get to see a lot of, and a couple people brought me some cute gifts- even some really cute handmade ones! wee! So thank you, and I hope you guys all had fun! I was glad you were there!

the popbandALICE set was awesome. For some reason when that band plays the Alterknit it can be quite iffy, but this one seemed to flow perfectly and people were enjoying it- I know i was! The best part though was when i was standing at the edge of the stage with arms extended to suddenly meet with Becky handing me a beer. That's how our rock shows should be! Well, our set was really fun and we sold a pile of our new CD and made some new friends. I was very pleased. Not sure I'll play shoeless again though, my feet hurt! Some people were even dancing to our new songs like i hoped for, so that was great.

Addison came on. Josh announced "I love Justin Riner, but my students are never going to school in his district." Which people cheered for... hmmmm... They, The Fictions, Pretty Scars and Pi is Exactly 3 were all great. No wonder we had a full room the whole night. I was very happy. a great group of friends and music and everything just made for another great birthday party!

Yesturday was a small party at my "uncle" 's place in Silverlake (Andrea) .. yay for Sarah and Nicole.. boo for being utterly exhausted. But it was nice to see everyone and indulge once again in a game of "hide and seek and tackle Justin" which this time had me hiding in the freaking boiling hot attic for way too long.

The night was capped with a really great show at the Hollywood Bowl to see Nickle Creek. Gen went with me and indulged me with wine and chez-its. The show was really good, we got treated to our own box and I even ran into an old friend from High School and her husband (the couple married on July 27th) who is going to have her second baby in October!

So yeah. The weekend isn't half over yet and my birthday hasn't even really passed, but its shaping up to be awesome.

Tonight its a BBQ at Danny's and tomorrow its a birthday dinner... School starts Tuesday!
1:19 pm
And Now For A Few Random Things
I've decided that my first frivolous purchase with my new pay check (when i have money to be frivolous with) will be one of those crazy back massage chairs from Brookstone with the rolly things. Oh yes.

I'm kinda afraid though, knowing my love for food machine infomercials, that I'm going to blow all of my money on this stuff!

I have this friend who hates Tom Lykis, but has recently been proving a bunch of his views as spot on, which is funny. She talks about how rude and sexist he is, but totally fulfils his words. She doesn't mind telling me her view, but I'll keep my mouth shut ;) Without getting on too much of a tangent: no, i dont follow his advice/views or really listen to his show- I see it as parody. However, he and the Stern show bookend my favorite radio show Frosty Heidi and Frank which is not sexist/misogynist/crude and is just funny. I do listen to Stern's newshour which i find amusing, but thats about it... Sometimes i get some flack for that for some reason.

I was flipping channels after lunch and this movie was starting starring Anthony Edwards. It looks like a very cute 80's romance, so I looked it up in the TV Guide to see what it was and the description says "A couple flees to Anarctica to avoid a nuclear holicaust" huh? I liked it as a love story.

And, ladies and gentlemen.. finally (if it works) AN LJ CUT:

Click Here For Some Pictures!Collapse )
Friday, September 3rd, 2004
9:28 am
Politics Politics
So reading my friends page with responses and discussions of the RNC sparked up a train of thought I started rolling around a few months ago but never posted or got beyond a few discussion. The quote from Tough Crowd I posted kind of sums it up. This whole bandwagon politics, but even more than that, the surface identification/ stereotyping of political groups and tags without backing or even understanding why.

The best example of something along these lines that got to me was at a friend's party a few months back when the following question was raised:

"Could you have sex with a girl if you knew she was a republican?"

Now, I don't know the people who were discussing this well at all, and we had all been drinking so I can't imagine it was a serious, stone faced question, but it represents the attitude that has been getting to me lately (and I'm quite sure that if she was hot enough, they would all give in, even if she was wearing a BUSH 2004 T-Shirt). I'm not assuming these guys really would act on labels so strictly, but I know some people do. And as time has progressed, and the election getting closer, this attitude just seems to be becoming more and more apparent all across the board.

The foundation for this question is basically that Republicans are bad/close-minded/fill-in-whatever-you-feel-fits here… The idea that you could just discount someone, a peer or politician, because of the letter next to their name on their ballot seems extreme. Doesn't that seem just as close-minded as anything you are opposing? To vote only along party lines</b>? To place your support/criticism not on the actual issues or people, but solely on party affiliation seems close-minded.

For example, I got some heat for voting for Arnold for Governor. This doesn't make me a Republican or for the general Republican agenda, however, I despised Gray Davis. I voted against him for re-election, and as his second term progressed I found myself less and less pleased with him. Taking money away from education; loosening pollution laws to cater to companies who had donated tons to his campaign; developing legislation to loosen the borders. These were things I feel strongly against, and thusly voted as such. So does that make me or my politics bad? Or represents me in some bad light? Something to be held against me? (and it has been at one point). I read up, discussed issues, and voted based on that. To me it seems like I'd be a bigger hypocrite or give my feelings about these issues less credibility if I supported Davis just because he wasn't a republican.

I feel like so many people who are judgmental or faux-political should slow their roll and try to understand, or at least be open/able to discuss people's views (especially opposing ones) so they can better understand them as people and educate themselves deeper about the issues, not just the labels.

I guess people should keep in mind that there is also a difference between "how things should be" and "how a government should act." I mean, looking at issues from the stance of how issues should be handled ideally, compared to how the nation can be serve a giant variety of backgrounds and peoples and world issues forces a person to have to make compromises with their politics, it doesn't mean their bad or unintelligent, to me, being open to hearing both sides takes more intelligence, not a lack of "knowing where you stand." For example, I think that health care should be free to everyone, however, because of money and other factors, it's not possible. Just because I vote a certain way doesn't mean I don't want free healthcare, but to consider the make up of our country and the affects of things outside of healthcare means that I have to find a compromise.

Back to the question of not dating (or simply just having sex with as the question above was) someone because they are republican feels so wrong to me. in politics and ideals you got to look under the surface and the same is true with people. Does hypothetical girl's party affiliation automatically mean she has nothing amazing about her? That you couldn't love her? Now, if you actually do discuss views and how things should be done and have conflicts, that's different. But if discussions or debates are never held judging them on that seems semi-ignorant.

Yeah well, something kind of set me off recently. I just wish people were more able to envision people as a bit more than simple associations or preferences. I just don't want to be judged or viewed as having bad or irresponsible politics by people who don't try and see my point, or worse, are unable to back themselves.. and I don't want other people doing that either- especially if they can't back up their stance, or just see their stance as the "cool" thing to be identified with. I hope my friends are able to look deeper.
Thursday, September 2nd, 2004
8:09 pm
What? my evening plans have me home by 8:00? Strange... Of course it was a staff party... (though they were strong margaritas..)

Well, school is still fun. It's taking up a lot of my time right now as expected. I swear i could totally stay in my room forever because there is so much to do. Now, maybe if i socialized less that would help me get things done, but really time just goes by so fast and setting up and planning and reading takes so much time. I just basically get too tired or hungry (or have somewhere to go) to stay too late.

You know, at first i was thinking how the only way that i could be more pleased with my job was if i had been hired at the Middle School i attended.. however, I was wrong. The way things have gone at this school and what I've scoped out/heard about the other schools in the past few days of district meetings, i must say that the tradeoff is worth it. I am at a great place of support and energy and kindness. I really feel like I'm in the best place I could be. It's very cool.

Well, no it's not. You see, only two classrooms in the whole school have malfunctioning air conditioning. They both belong to brand new teachers- one of them is me. The funny thing is that it's not just that the AC doesn't work, but it in fact blows hot air. Turning the AC on heats up the room! and it gets hot. It's supposed to be fixed by this time next week, but with 30 bodies in the room, it's going to be terrible. For now though i have a fan behind my desk blowing air on me while I work. Fortunatly, the heat hasn't stopped people from dropping in on me. This is one of the most fun things- having people stop in to talk or check stuff out. The first few days it was just a couple of the newer teachers, but today i had about three older ones come in.

Ohhh.. and Karryn says shes been looking for a biking partner! She suggested we bike after work.. It is yet to be seen if either of us have the energy to make that happen, but it sounds like a good idea thrown out there. I've met some really cool people

Today I thought it would be funny to be way dressed up. Why? Not sure, but showing up to the district meeting in a really nice shirt/pants/tie combo when everyone else was in T-Shirt and jeans was way funny and got fun reactions. *and i looked good.

Haha.. President Bush just spoke Spanish out of nowhere. Also, thanks to David Cross.. I can't even start to take the guy seriously when he says words like "killers" or "freedom."

I heard the story of how two of our teachers met and started dating. They had these elaborate themed dates for like thier first five dates, I'm so jelous of them pulling that off instead of going "that would be cool" and just sitting around, plus it was their first dates! That takes special people. They're my new heroes of adorability. They have since been married and have a cute baby.

Ok, some random and incomplete thoughts.. Kinda how my time has been spent. Being a new employee is overwhelming, but especially being a teacher adds piles on top of that, so my head is a lot like a pile of papers i have on my desk. Tons of information and people and things in one big unorganized pile- yet to be filed. That being said, things are awesome.

Ok, enough right? I'm sure all my teaching stuff is a bit redundant.>shrug<
I hope to see a lot of you tomorrow night!
Wednesday, September 1st, 2004
10:57 pm
dont forget gosh darn it-

MY BIRTHDAY PARTY/ popbandALICE's CD Release show!
THIS Friday, Sept 3.
Knitting Factory Alterknit Lounge
8:00, All Ages, $7 and great stuff

popbandALICE has been writing some great new songs.. come hear them!
10:53 pm
Van Morrison @ Hollywood Bowl + Ben and Jerry's Half Baked + wine= happy justin.
Tuesday, August 31st, 2004
5:23 pm
Porn/Exploitation Poll Part 2
Finally getting around to it:

Thanks to the people who responded to my last poll question. I was kinda hoping for more responses, especially from you girls, because this is really intriguing to me... You may be interested to read some of the responses.

Here is part two though- and a good point of why I'm confused. As represented by feminist zines, and some people I know- Playboy (which contains pictures of naked women generally on their own) is a bad magazine, objectifying and demeaning to women. However, many of them sing the praises or simply support Sucide Girls (a website of "alternative" women/girls posing nude many times with other women and occasionally sex toys).

Why do you think women support to Suicide Girls while having a disdain for Playboy? What makes a something obscene, objectified, or demeaning?
5:20 pm
Well, because of some continuous issues from the station moving The Jenny and Justin Show is not on tonight

So now i have a few extra hours to myself tonight. How to spend it? Hmmm.. Shoulda brought some school stuff home, but i didn't know I'd have time. Well, i have plenty else to do.

Today another new teacher and I were bonding over Moulin Rouge and RENT. I'm wondering if getting posters of those are inappropriate for my classroom.

So, i won't ramble.. but heres some questions:

Want to find your soulmate? Not tall enough for Blind Date? Subject yourself to this: http://www.entertainmentcareers.net/jobid.asp?jcode=28976

Anyone out there like Van Morrison?
Monday, August 30th, 2004
11:06 pm
politics as a bandwagon
"The most important thing to remember about college... thinking for yourself is an overrated waste of time. So when other students are protesting, don't bother to investigate the issue. Just grab a sign, run out into the crowd and start chanting "I'm finally a part of something." Almost as important as the protest itself, as soon as you're done, make sure to tell as many people as possible that you were there man."

-Jim Norton on Tough Crowd
9:54 pm
A full day at school working, then I helped Jason move. I had a whole bunch of stuff i wanted to write about during my last weeks with this LJ thing.. but I DON'T HAVE ANY TIME! And this week? Yeah, busy every night. I didn't even try! Poor me. hehe. So i havent even been able to keep up with my friends page.. It gives me a small frown.

Well... Man, what to say. My head is so full of things between everything going on and all the people I'm meeting and things I need to consider for work and people I'm spending time with...

Friday Gloria and I hit Howl at the Moon. It was a shindig for my school and they got us new teachers on stage to dance. Two teachers (one that night and one today) told me how funny i was up there. Not sure what I did >shrug< We then headed to Underground for a very short time, but saw quite a few yummy people I was happy to see.

Saturday Andrea took me schoolroom shopping. Dawn just started working at the store-- I saw her with different hair and wasn't sure it was her and she was in a daze of some sort. Well, so we bought posters and supplies, and got hooked up with a nice discount (and a bunch of free books!) We then headed to the school and Andrea became my interior designer. It was a lot of fun, we spent many hours listening to 80's music on STAR, putting up decorations, and setting up the room. (Another teacher saw how my desks were arranged today and stole the design!)

Sunday was good times, a very hot popbandALICE practice followed by a very nice small get together to watch the VMAs. Sure we talked over 90% of it, but it made for really good times. I love having get togethers, especially when people don't know each other. Somehow having people who don't know each other meet and have fun makes me appreciate them all so much more

It was a really good weekend with really good people.
Im sleepy. Off I go.
9:08 pm

Hey ya'll, come to my Birthday Party/ Record Release show.

Good times with awesome bands!

And tomorrow we start up on littleradio.com again! 6-9!
Friday, August 27th, 2004
6:33 pm
stroke stroke
Today I received one of the most flattering, exciting compliments I will probably ever get in my life, and it's made me feel very good about a whole bunch of things I've been thinking over and discussing with some people recently.

I had my first meeting with the English chairs at my school. They told me that when they set up the interview with me they knew they weren't going to hire me. Carol said she just figured they'd be giving me interview practice, they were not going to hire a first time teacher for this position- it was a tough position. However, she says, I went in there and "blew [them] away." She said I was very well composed and presented myself in a great way and was so personable and had good ideas. I swear, as she told me this today I must have been blushing like crazy. I recall leaving that interview going "I said the stupidest things oh man..." and telling myself "well, it was your first interview.."

Hearing this was so satisfying. I have felt that while obviously i had worked hard and had good credentials, knowing the Asst Principal was a big hire point, but it turns out that the AP basically just put in a good word.. to hear that they actually decided not to hire a first timer,and broke that rule as soon as I left the room.. its just very fulfilling. Hard to put into words.

One thing that keeps coming up and is being told to everyone is the conversation that occurred at the end of the interview-

Principal: well, Justin, we're about done. Do you have anything to ask us?
Justin: Did that refrigerator just move?

It really did. The cooler thing in the fridge in the office is lose and makes the fridge bump and when he asked if I has any questions, seriously, that was the only thing I could think of. Carol brought this up again today. I didn't realize it was so funny at the time.. it was more like a nervous twitch.

Anyway, the meeting went well. The teachers are very willing to help me out however I need it and I have a lot of sympathy from them considering I just stopped my student teaching two days ago. This is funny too... They've been wanting to put together a lesson on formal vs informal writing using AIM chat language, but no one around there knows much about chatting, so one of my first projects is going to be to transcribe a passage into net language. LOL.

N-E-WAY. I really like the people I've been meeting. Everyone is very complimentary of each other and the people I have to work with. Everyone just seems very supportive and friendly and very inclusive. I've found myself being very comfortable and not reserved like I would normally be in such a new environment.

Sorry I'm so gushy recently. I'm kinda paranoid about it, but I just really am so very happy with how things are going and I feel very accomplished. So there. And seriously, would you rather read moody, reflective, hypothetical entries? I had been meaning to write those in my last few weeks. But this is much better.

Well, tonight is the school party at Howl At The Moon. Gloria should be here any minute. I wish you all happiness!
1:46 am
Of course, just when i thought 'd have a night home alone Megan2 got out of work "early" and so we went to our bar and had some drinks. I think shes officially the first person I've known to be chased by a llama It was the first time I'd seen her since her show started.
Today brought another good day at my school. Its so weird to drive in and park in the staff parking and enter the school and head to my classroom.

I basically spent the day cleaning out the filing cabinets and wandering around the school a bit- poking my head into open doors and getting better aquainted. I scrounged for some English posters since besides my Harry Potter poster, i dont have anything, and was given a "care package" (remember that list i told you i made yesturday?) and i sorted that out. Its so nice to have the administration asking if I need anything, following up on things, making conversation.

When i first got there i went to put some water in the fridge in the supply room and a group of teachers were in there eating. One of them (the English department chair) gets excited and says "hey.. it's Junior!" I probably blushed or something. I introduced myself and the drama teacher (who's name, of course, I just went blank on ) told me about how when he first got to the school four years ago or so he was the youngest for a long time and it was hard (he was even an 8th English teacher). He told me he would call me Justin. The woman then said "well, his initials are JR!"

I headed to my room, set up my new radio and filled the hallway with Pixies, Frou Frou, and Postal Service all day. When I'd leave my room and could hear it outside or further down the hall i smiled. Leave it to me to fill the vacant halls with good sounds.

Later the drama teacher and Bonnie (my new buddy- another new teacher who is about three doors down from me) and the drama teacher were walking down the hall and Bonnie yelled "Hey Junior!" (shes like a year older) and drama said "Hi Justin!" Its funny to me he's on this mission cause he was in my shoes once to not call me junior. Hes a really nice guy though, i stopped by his room and he was great to talk to. So they took a look inside my room and i guess its rare to have two teacher desks and two filing cabinets because they seemed impressed. And here I was complaining that my desks didn't match!

Well, today was kind of hard though (and not just cause the air conditioner in my room doesn't work) but because it's basically like "Where do I start??" There is so much to do. I have to figure out how to arrange my classroom- what to put where, how i want the students to sit, which drawers to put what in. It sounds trivial, but its hard! Then there is the wall situation. Its really exciting but i had to take a few walks to clear my head because the heat combined with coming in as a complete blank slate is intimidating.

But I'm having so much fun. Things feel right. And the people I've met have just been awesome. And more tomorrow!
Thursday, August 26th, 2004
1:15 am
So long, you'll feel like you were there.... OR Its not easy being green
So, Tuesday I was a student teacher, under the wing of a "master teacher" finishing my credential work.. by Wednesday morning I was a professional having my first district seminar. Its very surreal and since I have less rush and buss on my shoulders, the thing is really hitting me.

So there was this informational meeting/brunch for the new teachers this morning . There were tables set up for each of the schools (eleven total) and so i wandered around to find Muir, I found it at the front of the banquet room. The table was full except one seat and the first thing I noticed was how young and vibrant our group was compared to the other schools on the whole. We started chatting and introducing ourselves. It made me feel very comfortable and excited. One of the women went to the restroom and came back to tell us that another woman asked her what school we were from because we appeared to be so friendly and relaxed. It was funny that we stood out that way.

So they gave us some information, told us about the district, what to expect, etc etc.. Then good ol' social time/food came. Our principal and VP came and ate with us. I found out that I was the only teacher who didn't have his keys yet and hadn't been to the school or met with anyone. Yup, I'm behind, but the VP told me it was because I've been busy they didn't want to burden me. I ran into the principal from the Middle School I went to and she gave me this huge hug and told me she was proud of me. Then I recieved another hug from the principal of one of the elementary schools (who happens to be my mom's best friend from high school) She was telling me that the administrators were talking about me the other day..thats a little intimidating.

The second half of the meeting was about how to prepare/what to expect starting now through the second week of school. Suddenly I got really nervous. Since I've yet to meet with my department and didnt have a key, nor decorations for the room, etc etc etc... talking about how to start the class was scary. It really struck me and became a very real thing what I'm about to do (like teach kids not to write sentances like that). But suddenly its not just something coming up that I'm talking about. One of the other teachers said she felt the same, so that helped.

One other funny thing happened. One of the speakers kept talking about this book that is like a modern classic in the teaching world about what how to handle the first days of school. Well, they had an extra copy- the only prize of the whole shin dig. The woman asked anyone who was interested in having a copy of the book to stand. Then, if they had taught previously to sit. Then if you were born in August or September to remain standing. There were three of us standing. I turned to Suzy (who was sitting next to me- the new instramental music teacher) and said "I've got this one." The woman said "Seeing as the first day of school is September 7th.. what is your birthdate?" Needless to say, September 6th won. Everyone clapped for me and I won the book. It was funny that our table stood out again.

Afterwards we met back at the school and got some details about things there, had a small tour. It was really a trip because it was 6th grade registration and I walked in with my ID badge.. I felt so official! Well, I finally got my key and scoped out my room a bit more, met some other teachers, etc. One thing I'm very lucky to have the option of is having supplies provided. You always hear about how teachers have to spend their own money- which is a really wrong thing- but I found myself able to write out a wishlist this afternoon of items for the classroom that i could not afford on my own, and when i get there tomorrow afternoon, it will all be there waiting for me. I'm fortunate to have that available to me.

Well, I am still the greenest employee at the school. All of the other new teachers have either taught somewhere else before, been a substitute in Burbank, or, in the case of Suzy, actually did her student teaching at Muir last year. All in all I'm really excited, and finally being hit with nerves. I do, however, feel like I'm in a very fortunate place all around, like my hard work has paid off. Which is a good feeling because sometimes i wonder about that sort of thing.

So i have only one day this summer with no work/assignments/meetings.. and how am I going to spend it? Working in my classroom!
Tuesday, August 24th, 2004
10:24 pm
Overnight Turn Aside
Today was my last day at my summer assignment (the 9th grade writing class and the 12th grade AP class). It was kind of a bummer. The kids were nice though and said nice things. One girl hugged me and thanked me for giving her "A"s on her tests (I told her she earned them.. I thought I was grading too hard). Tomorrow I have my first official function of my real employment. It is this informational meeting with the district and then a free meal and then a meeting at the school itself. I should be getting things like the keys to my room and introductions to the support staff. Its crazy.

People keep asking me if I'm nervous/excited/scared/etc. The funny thing is that I've been too busy to worry about it! I swear. I mean, check it out- I stop being a student the day before I start being a professional, thats intense. Additionally, on top of the summer assignment the past few months have been crazy busy with working, playing with the band, spending a lot of good time with friends, and enjoying a casual dating life. I'm making sure to really use my time well because even though I'm kinda bogged down with some responsibilities, I know that as soon as those kids walk in my room on the 7th, my personal time- let alone a serious relationship- will be hard to come by.

Ok.. that was the stairway to a tangent.

So yeah. Its just crazy that by this time tomorrow it will have begun my career. I just dont have time to get too anxious or paranoid (which is good, trust me). I'm just going in warm from being in classrooms of all types of the past six months and ready to go. I think it may be better this way. Plus, though i had to endure some confusion and such, I've really made the most of my summer, which is a plus... That is, until next summer puts this to shame: target Canada and Germany! wee!!

In other subjects, tonight we took my mom out for dinner and a few tables away they were filiming an episode of Blind Date. It was weird to see it in real life.

John Kerry was on the Daily Show. I hope some of you caught it.

Ok. Off to bed (supposedly) before my first big time meeting!
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