Teach and Frisk

A teacher on the brink and the policy that put him there
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San Fermin, "Jackrabbit"


If you are looking for something spare or stripped-down, San Fermin’s Jackrabbit, which comes out today, is not the place to turn, but there are plenty of other places to turn for that, so don’t get that face on. Sometimes it’s okay to open yourself up to an assload of orchestration. Embrace fullness, I say. There’s a lot going on here, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Give it a go.

New York City, April 19, 2015

weather review sky 041915★★★★ The warmth of the day before had backed off—spring was not going fully sweaty yet, not at all. Pictures that had sat around unhung for months and months suddenly could be understood to need nothing but a half-minute’s attention with a hammer. There was a cool breeze in the streets, and scooters and strollers and scooters and strollers and scooters. Pear trees in bloom caught and scattered the light. A man with a leather or leatherette jacket weaved hastily through the crowd to catch up with a little girl, also wearing a leatherish jacket, speeding ahead on a pink scooter. Star magnolia blossoms, petals drooping, bobbed in Verdi Square. From the corner of 72nd Street, the pear flowers and the Ansonia were a single off-white Beaux-Arts mass.

The Near Future Is Now

217-West-57th-Street-Extell-3-777x354A quirk of our particular moment is that much of our aspirational residential architecture, like the forthcoming tallest residential building in the world, Nordstorm Tower, looks like it was pulled directly from a superhero movie. This tower looks like architecture from the near future because we have been shown that this is the way buildings are supposed to look in the near future—which is why buildings in the near future will look like this.

When Two People Work From Home in a One-Bedroom

odd coupleLife takes us all to strange places we never intended to go. Recently it took my husband and me on a journey of far too much togetherness. Now that it’s over, I have never been more in awe of couples who work together and haven’t garroted each other.

Like many in this bracingly cool new workaday world of ours, for the past year or so I have found myself laboring away as an independent contractor and freelancer. This isn’t really where I thought I’d be at this more-advanced-than-I’d-like stage of life, but one either rolls with the punches or takes a final trip to the Golden Gate Bridge. Fortunately, I’m still rolling.

Part of the rapidly expanding my-own-boss demographic means being part of the wondrous trend of working from home. This is probably the best aspect of the whole deal, or at least it was for a few months.

I’d roll out of bed between 8:30 and 9, fix myself a leisurely breakfast as I check email, read about current events for longer than I should, and then get a few hours of real work done with no supervisor or company co-founder looking over my shoulder. After my five- to six-hour workday was done, I’d go to the adorable but expensive neighborhood market and grab the fixings for dinner which I’d then prepare while listening to the Savage Lovecast. By the time my husband got home from his 8:30 to 5:30, I’d be happily buzzed off a glass of wine or a couple of hits off the vaporizer. It was kind of idyllic.

Then he got laid off.

Now, the reason I’m not parked in a cubicle or (God forbid!) sitting in one of the new open office plans guarding my screen from my coworkers right now is that I, too, had been laid off, so I’m not unsympathetic to his situation. I know all too well what a blow to one’s self-worth it can be. Frankly, he handled it a lot better than I did when it happened to me.

That said, he worked as the fulfillment and customer service guy for a porn studio—old-fashioned DVD shipping, no bareback gay porn studio—so he knew for quite some time that the end was nigh. Unfortunately, he hadn’t done anything to prepare for that eventuality. (Yes, there were a few “I told you sos” involved. I’m a bad person.) After 13 years with the company he was sent packing with two week’s severance, and we both got more togetherness than was good for either of us.

Acceptable Catcalls

4619835763_72e4b77c9b_bHoooo boy,

You look like someone who really knows how to PROCESS things. I can tell you’ve been hitting the shrink lately because you look like you’ve been making progress on your historically fraught relationship with food! I’d like to get you and your doctor alone in a room and support you while you tell her why you think it’s time to decrease your dose of SSRIs.

Bully, "Trying"

I have no idea where this fits into the perpetual alt revival and I suppose it doesn’t really matter: Whatever Bully is doing, they seem to be having a good time.

32 Feelings & Then Some: An Inquiry into the Non-Legacy of Ani DiFranco

ani-difranco-50a149eae31e9
Lola: Hello and greetings. Today, we approach a deceptively simple query: Why doesn’t anyone listen to Ani DiFranco anymore?

Meredith: I just want to make clear to you, most righteous of babes, that Ani DiFranco raised me. I know all the words to every single song, every single giggly live track interlude. When I was 14, the sun rose and set with Ms. DiFranco, but for the kids today, she seems to have all but disappeared off the cultural map. So what gives?

Lola: As professional lesbians and amateur cultural detectives in a committed lesbian cultural detective relationship, we (Meredith Heil and Lola Pellegrino) felt none were more qualified to solve this mystery. Let us begin.

Going Down Hypothesis.
In early 2015, we waged three (3) separate attempts to make out to three (3) separate Ani DiFranco albums. All three failed to yield anything save a foundational postulation from Lola: “Nobody listens to Ani DiFranco anymore because you really, really can’t make out to this music unless you’re a teenager.” Meredith countered, “But I diiiiiiiid!” But that’s what Lola’s saying.

Sick of Me Hypothesis.
Much like how the most fatal viruses kill their hosts too quickly to ever lead to widespread epidemics, Ani “infected” her victims so hard and so terminally that they failed to infect others, so the outbreak flamed out.

Outta Me, Onto You Hypothesis.
Today’s media landscape boasts so many out, queer-identified famous people that we’re no longer resigned to projecting our queer dreams and aspirations upon a cis woman who has two babies with a cis man. To whom she is legally married. A husband-man. Her SECOND husband-man.

School Night Hypothesis.
Because all of our Ani stuff is somewhere at our parents’ house? We don’t know, it’s like, a photo scrapbook, this notebook with poems inspired by her haircuts and some ticket stubs. We can show you when we go back there for Easter; we think it’s in the basement.

The Case for Office Babies

officebabbo

Tracy! So what happened here?

Well, a baby came into the office. The baby wasn’t by himself; he was with his parent/guardian/owner. He was tiny and chubby, with big juicy cheeks and thick brown hair cut into a bowl cut that is only cute when you’re a little chubby tiny baby, and he was all over the place and into everything, and I just melted.

I love babies, and I love it when babies come into the office. When I tweeted that we need a bell or an alarm to signal when a baby is in the office, I just assumed that everybody would know that it was because I wanted to know when I should abandon all my work and watch said baby toddle around being a baby. But someone mistakenly thought I meant like a warning bell, so that I can go run and hide and not enjoy this baby, because I guess that’s a thing that awful people would choose to do.

Are You Just LARPing Your Job?

Slack, maker of extremely expensive professional chatrooms, is annexing online work culture at a stunning rate. The industry narrative doesn’t quite cover it! Sure, a lot of companies are signing up and closing their Campfire chats, their Hipchats and their IRCs. But the thing about Slack that gives you that low dread of unstoppable acceleration is how fully it encompasses how you talk to coworkers: first it replaces a group work chat, then it gradually replaces your Gchats and the last remaining AIM conversations. Eventually—and this is when you finally begin to understand why, in the big fun-free casino of venture capital, the Slack table is so crowded—it starts to replace email. It’s a weird and distinct feeling, and one that often coincides with Slack apologetics. It is the process of Slackulatory capture.

There may be offices, and types of jobs, for which sitting in a chatroom all day makes everyone more productive. This does not seem to be the case in online media, which is most effusive in its praise for the service. Slack is where people make jokes and register their presence; it is where stories and editing and administrating are discussed as much for self-justification as for the completion of actual goals. Working in an active Slack (or Campfire for that matter!) is a productivity nightmare, especially if you don’t hate your coworkers. Anyone who suggests otherwise is either rationalizing or delusional.

Here’s a nice appreciation of “Father Ted,” one of the greatest “dumb funny” comedies of all time, to commemorate its twentieth anniversary.#