Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mmm-mmm, good!

Sorry, no pic available, but a quick product endorsement, here: Trader Joe's Horseradish Hummus. Man, oh man. Why has no-one ever thought of that before? It's like a Seder in my mouth!


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Laborless Day

Apologies for the spotty posting schedule this week - work and other related worky things took a lot of my time and energy and goodwill. Curiously, to counter the bad vibe I got from work-work this week, I took on some more work to calm me down and cheer me up... namely, the promotional site for Kalliope that I mentioned earlier. Anyhow, now it's done and live, so go over there and witness the magic that is Flash (as well as the neat stuff that is her writing and drawing, which is the whole point of the site in the first place).

Please tell me if there are any glitches that pop up on a computer that isn't a Macintosh, which is all I currently have in the house. That's right: I'm putting you to work. Suckers.

Anyway, have a good rest of your three day weekend. If I have the time or inclination, I'll see if I can get a new Weekend Listening up. In the meantime, in honor of this particular Holiday, I recommend checking out the first installment of a new comic adaptation of Studs Terkel's Working, over at Walrus Comix, also neat.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Feeeeeeeel the stress

Ugh - tough and anxious couple of days with work. Apologies, but it put me in a mood not conducive to Rambling, or interacting with he universe in any way other than quiet fuming.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Want. Need. Now.

From Rolling Stone online:

"Five Genesis albums from their Peter Gabriel era are being re-released in a 7-CD/6 DVD box set on November 11th with 5.1 DTS sound and hours of unreleased material. Their landmark 1974/75 “Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” world tour was never filmed, but this collection does have a complete performance from Belgian TV in 1972 and their appearance on Midnight Special in 1973..."

Won't you all kindly save up your money and send a copy to your old pal, Dave, in return for providing you with a daily dose of Rambler? Or, if you hate the Rambler - agree to buy me a copy, and I'll go away.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Flash! Ahhh-ahhh!

In the process of putting together a quick and 'simple' site in Flash for Kalliope, to help her promote her work and upcoming appearance at the Baltimore Comicon. I usually don't hop-to to do free web-work - hell, I usually drag my ass when I do paid web-work, but I bear a good part of the weight of her decision to attend, and seeing as how she's putting all of her money into the table fee and the cost of printing her comic, the least I could do (the very least) was put together a little web brochure for it.

I should be done later tonight. And by done, I mean, 'totally fried.' Man, Flash gives you them great results, but each page finished takes a chunk outta your soul...

BTW: Thanks, all, for attending the party at Beadboard Manor on Saturday. You'll be pleased to know that I've fixed the doorknob...


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Come See the Egress

As if Beadboard Manor didn't have enough problems - big and small - for me to worry about...

About a month ago, the doorknob on the front door underwent S.M.E.F.* This is not at all an unprecedented event, here. The doorknobs are all as old as the house (that's 93 years, to you) and take turns coming off in people's hands, particularly going in and out of bathrooms. The front door, however, chose a really clever time - it was just as I was pulling the door shut to lock it before our Rhode Island trip.

So I've been meaning to get to it, but it's on my list of things I've been meaning to get to, and its number has not yet come up. It was behind the steps, and the basement, and the yard, and the window screens, and the office, and the general clean-up that we so badly need, and on and on.

Home ownership - what Spalding Gray termed 'terrors of pleasure' - is full these things. Little constant make-work for you, which you put off until you realize that now there is no landlord, no father, no anyone else except yourself who must first decide how to deal with it and then deal with it.

Usually, it goes in this order:

1) Try to repair it yourself;
2) if 'succeed,' have a beer
3) If 'fail,' go to step 4
4) Call a professional

We often bypass step two, but have the beer nonetheless. This evening, after DeScK (DeSCK? dEsCk? descK?) practice - which was also beset by difficulties of the technical sort - I was reminded of the doorknob's need when it tried to leave with Christine. So I set to with screwdriver and flashlight. And it was a real steps 1 and 3 kind of night, with step 4 happening tomorrow, and a gin and tonic sitting in for the beer tonight.

I guess I'll offer the Rambler's first dedication, by posting this blog in honor of Karl, who just closed on his house a couple of weeks ago, and is in the process of chopping away at the big things.


*Douglas Adams-speak for 'Spontaneous Massive Existence Failure,' a corporate acronym assigned to a truly spectacular engineering SNAFU.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tropic Thunder

Upon first seeing the trailer, I thought to myself, 'Well, that's going to be extremely funny, unless they seriously drop the ball.' Great concept, strong performers, etc.

I'm happy to report that the ball was not dropped. Funniest movie I've seen since Anchorman. I know everyone is all over Downey's performance, and it's damn funny, but I have to say that I liked Stiller even more - if only because he allowed himself to downplay (in contrast, that is) and let his fellow performers go off.


Monday, August 18, 2008

My Mind, You Are Blowing It.

If this is for real, I think we officially entered whatever comes after the future.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

...Songs from the Film of the Same Title

Your Weekend Listening • 8/17/08
Songs from the Film of the Same Title

Tah-dah! Presenting the Subway Rambler's first full album - a 'lost' 'classic' from 1997. Click on the cover to hear the whole thing in streaming glory, complete with pause, stop, skip, fast-forward and rewind controls. Don't say I never do anything for you. In theory, this album-length Rambler will pretty much eat up a lunch hour, so that may be the recommended use. Note: a couple of the tracks from this album will be Weekend Listening repeats, but now there's some attempt made to put them in context, with supplemental commentary.

I should note that both the name of the album and the album itself really are retroactive creations. The songs were all recorded in the space of a few months, and the period mix-down cassette that I pulled all of these from has 'Songs from the Film of the Same Title' scrawled on it, but there was no order to the songs and I'm pretty sure that the title on the cassette came a few years after the fact, as I was organizing my library. The sequencing came when I digitized these back in June, and attempting to give it some flow.

Songs from the Film of the Same Title represents the burst of material that came from the period when Edz and I first started playing together. Here's the story behind that. Since this is a full album, rather than give the whole kit and kaboodle, I'll just give a little info behind each song.

Technical notes first: all of this was recorded to the trusty Tascam Porta-One 4-Track, usually with one mic for the drums and me strumming along on guitar as a guide. All drums are Edz, and all guitar, bass and (minimal) keys are myself, with exceptions noted below. The mixes were done directly to cassette during the period, and those mixes are what you're hearing here. Bear that in mind when you're wondering why the guitar is so loud or the vocals so inaudible, or vice-versa. Plus, as many of you know, the four-track requires mixing tracks down permanently if you want to have more than four (drums, bass, guitar, vocal and...), so the bass and drums were usually bounced together first, which did no favors to either instrument, both of which like a lot of tape room.

All that aside, I'd be lying if I said I didn't find the primitive and compressed recording to be part of the charm of this, along with the sound of a new band finding its footing and a songwriter finding his voice. Also, Edz' drum performance throughout is just great, and if nothing else, that's my justification for preserving this and presenting it for public consumption.

Hopefully, you'll agree.


One - Ambition
I've always had a strong autobiographical element to my material, but the songs from this period probably are the most direct and straightforward I've ever written, in the sense that they all refer to events which occurred while the songs were being written, rather than well after the fact, which is more of my current paradigm.

Ambition is, essentially, a song about being desperately horny - specifically because my then quasi-girlfriend was living overseas for a year, having been accepted to the RISD European Honors Program in Rome. As such, it's about the only genuine bump and grind number I've allowed myself to write, because I usually feel silly performing such material. No doubt, one element that let me relax enough to get carnal was playing in Lizard Music, where bandleader Erik took on the mantle of the white indie rock answer to Marvin Gaye. One Erik song in particular - My Zebra - informs this track more than anything else. Except for maybe Frankenstein, which the mid-section clearly borrows from.

In terms of content, the lyrics betray my conflicted nature about the relationship in question (it wasn't healthy). The references get kind of deep, but most of you should catch the Twin Peaks reference in the first line - "How's Annie?" - which was definitely used to clue the listener in that the singer is maybe not feeling all right in the head. The ersatz Italian in the second verse - "La donna - che ce di nuovo é? Per piaciere, vieni." (forgive my spelling) is both a reference to the Rome location of the subject, and also a direct result of an Italian class I took in the fall of 1995(?) to prepare for a two week visit to Rome. The translation - such as it is:

Hey, girl -
What's new with you?
Please, come here.

Which serves as exhibit 'a' as to why I failed that Italian class.

The female voice leading into the jam is my step-sister Gail, chosen for the sake of expedience more than anything else.


Two - She's Busy
More on the same relationship, although this one pushes the material more in to fantasy land. The protagonist of this song finds that he's been excommunicated, and fails to get the point, hanging around cluelessly and hoping that the mere fact of being the father of her child will be enough to get him back into her good graces. My life, as recast with the regulars and scenario from the Jerry Springer Show, which was (as you might recall) a tremendous cultural phenomenon from the time.


Three - Untitled (Acoustic)
Maybe it's because I was freed up musically by having Edz suddenly there, but there's a high ratio of instrumental numbers floating around from the period. This one has appeared here before, and here's what I had to say about it at the time:

"All I can really say with some confidence about the acoustic piece is that I'm 99.9% positive that it was a complete improvisation, something that I threw together on the Tascam one lonely night in the basement, literally playing with myself in the way that only a man without a musical outlet save for his trusty four-track can."


Four - Prodigy
Also discussed earlier on the Rambler - specifically in that link to the blog about Edz.

Lyrically and musically this song is probably the closest I've ever come to limning the overwhelming 'now what' feeling that came during the few years after college when I found myself really casting about for direction. My trip through RISD had caused me to question my own long-cultivated self-image as a cartoonist/visual artist, and Prodigy reflects on that, and contrasts it with my childhood as an 'early bloomer' - all through elementary school and junior high school, I'd been placed in advanced programs with names like 'Gifted and Talented' and 'Great Books' and (guh) 'PROBE.'

This sense of being set apart and above my fellow students intellectually didn't do me any favors later on, when I lost my grip on academics - it ceased to be 'fun' - and didn't really have any social skills to fall back on. The image of a spent genius being shuttled off to a lonely exile in the lyric seems especially poignant to me, if to no-one else. I guess you had to be there.

Anyway, this reflection on my childhood came to me while I was preparing to completely abandon drawing for the decade, after having similarly failed to meet my own expectations at RISD.


Five - Final Jeopardy
If you've read and listened this far, you'll know that it's no stretch to say that I was deeply fuk't up during the mid-90s. This song furthers and combines the imagery of abandonment, isolation and obsolescence from She's Busy and Prodigy, this time casting me (accurately) as a man who no longer is welcomed in the brighter world where he most wants to be, and is more than a little bitter about it.

Beyond just my RISD experience and the faltering relationship with the Rome girl, my then-current musical and social life fed into this. The Lizard Music experience in particular had gone a long way towards making me question my value as a musician and writer. My complete sense of not fitting in to the ultra-hip scene down in Red Bank, NJ, where the band was based is also here.

The most potent feeling in the song is that of no longer having any kind of support system, since RISD girl was away (and never mine to begin with) and my closest friends, Ansley and Bran, were gone during much of this period, recording and touring. It's probably more to their absence than anything else to which the chorus is directed, and the two references to Simon and Garfunkel's Only Living Boy in New York are particularly on point about that - Paul Simon's deeply heartfelt ode to Art's departure seemed just right. It also probably makes this recording completely illegal, seeing as how I actually sample it for the bridge, back when sampling for me meant cueing the 4-track and CD player and just hoping that things lined up. It was supposed to be contrasted with a sample of Elmer Fudd from an old Bugs Bunny cartoon, also saying 'Here I am' in a querulous voice, but this being the days before the real internet, such things were much harder to come by.

Musically and lyrically, this is my least favorite of the songs on the album, but it seems a necessary number. Vocals suck serious ass. Sorry.


Six - MOJA

Also discussed at length previously on the Rambler, this instrumental represents my only foray into through-composed instrumentals AND 'jazz' guitar. Composed while trying to avoid my situation while visiting family in Oregon.


Seven - Clementine Fingers
As noted, there were a few instrumentals to come out of my first experience of collaborating with another musician, as Edz' skill let me explore musical ideas I couldn't on my own. A fellow 'Gifted and Talented' and 'Great Books' traveller, Cathy Ricardo, makes an appearance here, playing the Moog that drifts in and out of the mix.

I've excised it from this version, but the full mixdown contains an intro with me explaining the title to Edz: this was written during clementine season, and those fuckers do make your fingers smell clemelicious.


Eight - Vinyl's Coming Back
Lyrically thin, mostly just an attempt to try to link underground music with underground comics. I think I was probably a decade early with that observation. I think that Ansley makes an appearance on guitar, here - not the clear solo line after the first chorus (which is me), but the bluesy lead mixed way, way down in the play-out.


Nine - Baby, I'm Your Man
To compound the sense of romantic doom from the RISD girl relationship, I'd had a very brief fling that completely changed my idea of what I wanted in a relationship and a woman. The girl in question was nineteen, while I was already pushing twenty-six, and I came to realize after a disastrous six weeks that I needed to date closer to my age. From this, I created the 'No Twenty-Two' rule, which basically meant that one has to apply some math to dating.

Which isn't to say that we had a cliché going where I was ready to commit and she was just looking for a good time. In fact, she married the very next guy she dated, who happened to be my roommate. And she didn't, as the lyric has it, try to kill me. Events unfolded as follows: when she broke up with me, it was with laser precision - no further contact. And I'm the sort of guy that wants to 'be friends,' which she wanted none of. To this day, I have no idea what happened in that relationship.

When it was clear that she and my roommate were really an item, I tried to talk to her one evening, following her out of the apartment as she literally fled from me. She got in her car and - with me standing behind it - started to back out. I got knocked back and realized that I needed to get out of the way.

Good times, good times.

This song also features future PCMA singer Christine Ricardo - Cathy's younger sister - on vocals. As Christine was seventeen at the time, she had the perfect ingenue tone for the countermelody/come-on in the coda. Her voice now is deeper and fuller, of course, but still having an air of knowing innocence - making it perfect for the tales of adult regret and melancholy that make up the bulk of the PCMA lyrics.

I particularly like the rhythm part on this song. I was feeling strong both on bass and guitar, and finally working out the types of Wings-Era-McCartney-inspired arrangements that I liked, where each instrument sketches out a simple, separate part of the interlocking whole.


Ten - In Sunny California
The second 'Only Living Boy in New York' moment on the album, this one inspired by the twins' impending trip to - yes, you guessed it - California. That, plus the insane worship of Brian Wilson shared by them and Erik - and one I never particularly got, myself - fed into an early attempt at a layered narrative, where the music and lyric refer to Brian's Smile era breakdown, which some hold was partly caused by his family/bandmates rejection of his new musical direction. But the secondary narrative is - again - my feeling of abandonment, both musically and socially.

Curiously, this song has a 'happy ending,' at least for the narrator - meaning me. Because the tone is one of strength, the voice of a writer acknowledging the importance of the relationship and the indebtedness to their musical inspiration - Ansley even helped arrange the song, by making the original chorus the bridge - but also finding that he believes more in himself and his own vision than that of anyone else.

The instrumental coda, btw, goes by the name In Rainy California. Naturally.


Eleven - Stop Teaching
This song was never considered as a real contender - most likely because of its unfortunate similarity to Everybody Hurts - so there isn't a complete recording of it. Only this live-to-tape version, presumably from the one and only time I played it for Edz in practice. But I think it's held up well, and more than anything else shows an interesting aspect of this entire album: at some point, I must have considered the possibility of actually taking on the role of frontman/guitarist, in the true indie rock sense.

To me, the most fascinating aspect of all of the recordings from this period is the guitar work, which shows that I had, by that point, put enough thought and face time in with the guitar that I'd developed a genuine functional style. A style that, again, is the most enjoyable thing in hearing all this again, because it's something that I failed to pursue and let erode. I'd come out of Lizard Music tired of keys, and I'd yet to really pick up the bass as my instrument in the band that eventually became Copper Man (although that is me playing all the bass on this album, some of which I rather like), so I for once in my life allowed myself to think of myself as a guitar player.

It was a short period - not even a year - but I'm very glad I have a record of it.


That's it. There are a couple of other songs from this period, some of which I haven't yet found and might or might not end up on some 'final' version of the 'album,' and some of which - like the 12-minute klezmer/prog workout Jakob Kurtzberg Meets His Maker - are too far out of the mood of the rest of the material to fit comfortably. And hopefully, as part of this giant reclamations project, I'll eventually find all of the original multi-track tapes and get better mixes. But still, for those of you who actually sat through all of this, thanks for playing.

BTW: let me know your thoughts on the MP3 player. The search for a functional, simple and easily implemented one is a blog in and of itself. Its one drawback seems to be in handling the tracks that are supposed to band, inserting a small silence while it buffers the next track. But still, beyond that and the fact that I can't get it embedded in the blog unless I take a master's class in Javascript, I'm pretty happy with the results.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Your Technical Difficulties

There will be a Weekend Listening this weekend, but I've decided to try a different way of implementing it that will hopefully be much cooler and more versatile than what I've been using 'til now. So please stand by - I think I may have it all together by Sunday afternoon/evening. I'll be working on it between fits of home repair and cleaning stuff.

Update: Sunday, 11:37 AM Blah. Blogger makes embedding the kind of thing I want to put here more than just a little difficult.

Update: Sunday, 5:12 PM All right. It's not the exact solution I was looking for, but unless someone is extremely good with Javascript and willing to work out how to get Blogger to embed the player, the external link will have to do. So...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mustn't... Blog... About... PCMA!

But... sounded... SO... good... tonight....

Argh! Look out for the bolt of punishment! Sorry! Sorry! No, master!!! NOoooooOOOOOooooooOOOOOooOoOO......!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

November 4th, 2008

Talk about high anxiety! This election has been going on so long, I don't think my nerves can handle it. But conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, 'Values voter' or 'Amoral Fuck-Pig,' come the evening of Election Day, we can all gather round and share a few good laughs.


Will it be 'good news, everyone,' or 'bad news, everyone?' Tune in and find out.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Bugs

Beadboard Manor has always attracted hornets and wasps and yellowjackets and things like that. Things that attack mercilessly, in large numbers, and without apparent reason. Like all old houses, it also has a surfeit of spiders, but spiders don't attack you just because. Don't know what it is about the place. 90 years without a termite, but airborne aggressors, we get perennially.

Nature's little bastards.

The yellowjackets in the side yard are probably related to the same colony that I exterminated in '06, that had taken up residence in the dying tree in the front yard. That time, it only took one can of fogger upended in the bottom of the tree to make me a genocidist. This time, there's either too many or they're too far in to make any headway.

The first discovery of this new colony was back in mid-July, when I noticed a few piloting in and out of a series of holes in the side yard. The holes are the combined work of an old root system and some digging rodent kind of thing, and are fairly extensive. I'd put it on my list of things to deal with, and wasn't looking forward to having to do so.

So when I went out to mow the side yard last Wednesday afternoon, it was with more than a little trepidation. To their credit, the bugs stayed put until the mower was right over them - but then it was blitzkrieg. They swarmed out instantly, all over the mower. Since I knew exactly where the nest was, I was pushing it gingerly, ready to run like a Yankee stealing home. I didn't stay to watch - I took off around the back of the house at top speed, and didn't stop until I'd rounded the house and took up a vantage point on the front porch.

Sure enough, a Lesser Magellianic Cloud of yellowjackets was all over the mower, kicking metallic ass and taking names. They seemed to be taking turns - as soon as one was done, it would return to the underground nest, but another would immediately take its place.

I figured they'd work out that the mower wasn't a threat in and of itself (it shut off automatically as soon as I released the handle) and calm down enough for me to retrieve the mower and mow the front and back yards within a few minutes, so I went inside.

Fifteen minutes later, they were still swarming.

Half an hour.

An hour.

It became apparent that the swarm was now a permanent feature. I trudged over to the neighbor (who I'd already warned about the nest) to let him know that I was going to be bombing it that night, so he should get all of his seven (!) cats inside.

Yesenia came home after dark, and the nest had quieted down enough for me to roll away the mower. Then she and I went out to dinner, and when we got back I took a can of fogger and plugged the main nest entrance with it.

The next day, I went out to take a look. Hmm. Some sluggish looking yellowjackets were crawling in and out of the hole, around the can. That night, I bombed them again. The next day, the flying resumed, unabated. Apparently, I'd just given them a hangover.

Well, time for the professionals.

So, not only do we have a large yellowjacket colony living in - living under - the side yard, but as soon as the exterminator showed up today to give me an estimate, he found a gigantic hornet's nest lurking under the second story overhang, right near the bathroom window. And how did he find it? He looked up, which I guess is something I hadn't done in the last six weeks or so.

If I had, I couldn't have missed the thing - it's the size of a bowling ball. Ugh.

I'll see if I can get a picture of the thing for you, tomorrow. In the meantime, as proof of Beadboard Manor's history of pissy flying biting things, here's a photo of another hornet's nest from around the house:

This one I found in the roof above the back porch while remodeling the bathroom. Pulled down the plaster and lathing and there it was. Thankfully, it was (I think) abandoned. But I duly bought a can of killer with 25 foot spray, drenched it and ran out of the bathroom and slammed the door.

I dragged my ass on most of that bathroom construction, but I'm pretty sure I put the concrete wall board up in record time.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Papers, Please?

So, the Rock* sent me a letter, asking for every transcript to every institution I've ever attended, including high school. Which strikes me as a little odd, since I've already got a Bachelor's Degree and everything. Wouldn't that kind of prove right there that I graduated from high school? I'd also hate to be judged by my transcript from Tappan Zee (my alma mater), since I was an even worse student in high school than I was at RISD.

The positive part of that equation is that I've gotten better. Now I pay attention. In fact, now I even want to go to school and learn, and pride myself on academic accomplishment. Oh, work ethic - where were you when I needed you twenty years ago?

They also want me to get my medical workup, which always gives me anxiety sweats. While I'm not afraid of needles, try telling my body that. The pulse races, the breath shortens. I'd chalk it up to some kind of leftover evolutionary twitch, a bred-in-the-bone fight-or-flight response, except I doubt that my ancestors were being pursued by roving packs of Rubella inoculations.

Still, all of this is manageable. A few faxes, phone calls and suppression of the Pussy Response and it's all taken care of. What's a little annoying to me is that for some reason, no-one in the department will agree to meet with me to help me design my curriculum. They just keep redirecting me to the general advisor. Who's great, don't get me wrong, but it was she who suggested I should talk with someone in the department as my next step.

Perhaps this is a fourth, unstated part of the placement test. First the written portion, then reading comprehension, then math, then a psych profiling of your ability to maneuver the bureaucratic intricacies of the college? Presumably you pass when you get to sit with the professor, which I imagine involves me impressing his A.I. door by being able to hold both Tea and No Tea at the same time.

Anyway. I have a month to sort this out. And I'm not above bribes.


*Rockland Community College, that is, not Dwayne Johnson. He doesn't ask. He just takes. Can you smell what the Rock is teaching?

The Darjeeling Limited



Saturday, August 9, 2008

Rock Fatigue

This, also, seems about right.

It's 1:30 AM, and I just finished a Big Mac and fries.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

For Those About To Rock (Meaning Me)

A little too much going on tonight to blog, but for those we free time tonight (meaning Friday night), come on out to the Ace of Clubs on Great Jones Street, downtown. The Floyd tribute band I key in will be playing the middle set in an all classic rock behemoth night, with a Who tribute and a Zeppelin tribute. I'm guessing the Jonathan Richman tribute had a scheduling conflict.

Here's the flyer, made by the Floyd drummer, Jon:

All of this means I also need to take a couple of hours tomorrow to tech my Rhodes, which has been acting a little funky the last couple of weeks. Most likely, it's just not used to all of this activity.

Hope to see anyone who can make it! Since I'm going back to school in the Fall, I've had to cancel my association with the band, so this will be my penultimate appearance. The last show is in late September, but since they've already started practicing with my replacement, there may be a chance that I'm not playing that one. But this one's a lock.


Monday, August 4, 2008


Finona and I went up together to the Rock, this morning, to take our placement tests. Fin has exactly two classes to finish so that she can receive her Associate's Degree. Myself, since I'm going back for an entirely new discipline, need to start from scratch - 30 credits to my Associate's!

Anyhow, she took only the math portion, but I - kind of randomly - decided to take both the English and math sections. I was an all-digital thing, with Dell desktops breezing away and many students taking the test - all of them conspicuously younger than both Fin and I.

The computers were not, unsurprisingly, running at peak efficiency, and for the first part of the English test - which was a 300-600 word essay on why school sucks - the network would occasionally go palsied and eat a portion of the completed essay. The bonus was that the essay clock (set initially at 50 minutes) would reset itself. So I lost approximately a full sentence - I think others lost more - but I gained about six or seven minutes, which was a nice trade off.

Anyway, this last year of daily Rambling has taught me nothing if not how to spew crap onto the screen in a short period of time, so I finished with time to spare on that, and then went somewhat quickly through the sentence structure and comprehension sections. At some point I toward the end of that, I looked up and noticed that Fin had completed and left the room, so I sped even more and got to the math section.

The math was two parts - arithmetic and algebra. Now, I never learned division and fractions, having been in California in 5th Grade, where the curriculum was a year behind New York, so I learned them over the weekend in advance of the test. But Algebra? No way I can force-feed that into my skull in two days. For that, I actually am looking forward to the class, to see if I can actually get it this time around.

I also tried to learn percentages properly, but after coming home from a day in the city, I was too out of it to focus on the material at hand. When I found myself surfing porn instead of memorizing equations, I figured it was time to give up and hope for the best.

And that's roughly how it worked out: I aced the English and Arithmetic sections - the latter being mercifully short on percentage questions- but the Algebra was a serious joke, with twelve questions that I'm pretty sure I did a random guess at each one.

Nonetheless, I'm considering the day to be a mild triumph, a sign that I'm not totally hurling myself randomly into this without a hope. Good to know that I can at least calculate at a 5th Grade level. Because I never could, before.


Friday, August 1, 2008

The Rock

They can take the community college out of Rockland, but they can never take the Rockland out of Community College.

If you catch my drift.