Mid-Year Student Surveys

January 27, 2010

I teach two classes of lower level sophomores in semester course. Since the new semester just started, I now have two new classes of students in those classes, and they just filled out my survey. As always, the answers are preserved in all of their wordings.

Favorite Film
Two: Jaws and Pirates of the Caribbean

The Hangover

Slap shot


Titanic (damn you James Cameron!)

The Hurt Locker

Saving Private Ryan

Talledega Nights

The Dark Knight


Star Trek (new one), Frost/Nixon, Rear Window, Strangers on a Train (not the typical HS faire!)


Moulin Rouge

Pulp Fiction

Casino Royale

A Walk to Remember

Catch Me If You Can


The trend on “favorite movies” has generally been picking something very recent. The last two years or so has seen a move away from that as more students name older films.

What are some big moments in your life?

going on a cruise to Alaska

I climed 80 flight of stairs in 20 min.

Graduating Greek school

my brother and mother dying in a car crash

my parents divorce

discovering Quentin Tarantino movies and watching the The Dark Knight and Watchmen.

my best friend dying

flying to Alaska by myself to visit my aunt

anytime I visit my cousins in Bolivia

catching my first fish

Nationals for cheerleading

moving to a new house and my grandpa dying four years ago

playing soccer and representing my country Ecuador

getting a puppy

hitting a home run with two outs in the bottom of the last inning to tie the game

my dad surviving cancer

when I came here four years ago from Romania

being born three months early

when I saved a friend from drowning in a swimming pool

I have always moved from different places because my dad is a diplomat

parents divorce, my dog dying, sister leaving for college 4 friends dying

going to China

Where have you traveled, and what did you learn?

China, London, Ireland, Caribbean; I learned about differnet cultures, food, history (especially the food)

I’ve gone on 2 cruises to the Caribbean and I learned not to trust anyone you first meet.

Serbia, France, Canada

Mexico, I have a house there and I learn to stay close to my family

Romania, I was born there

I traveled almost everywhere in the US. Everyones almost the same.

Philadelphia, and that every moment you should enjoy life.

Poland, Canada, and a few states here and there.

I was born in Portugal, but I am Brazilian. I have lived in Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Italy, and here.

Florida, bahamas, Wisconsin, California, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan I learned every place is different and amzing, you just have to give it a chance.

China, I went there for Chinese class. I learned culture and many things. It was great.

I traveled to New Mexico I learned how to suvive in the desert.

Las Vegas (5 times), California, Canada, Alaska, Florida, Arizona, Wisconsin

Florida and Mexico. In Mexico, I learned how to make real Mexican food.

Washington State. Seattle. I love nature + I go there all the time go hiking, etc. Best place ever (my note: I’m not sure its the best place EVER)

Paris, Spain, Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Aruba, Greece

Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio)

Mexico, don’t drink the sink water

Texas, it snows in Texas

I went to Bolivia, Arizona, Washington DC, and California, I learned lots of things are done differently in different places.


Palm Beach, New York, love the Yankees (my note: poor kid doesn’t know he already has failed the class)

I have traveled to Hawaii, Mexico, and Poland

Ecuador, I learn that there is no better country than the one you were born.


oil : water :: I : this performing art form

January 10, 2010

Arts, performing or otherwise, require some base talent. That talent can be developed, and depending on the amount of base talent, and ho hard you work, you can develop that talent into something that is truly great. It is true that everyone can draw, but not everyone can create a true work of art.

When it comes to dance … I cannot even draw. Don’t get me wrong, I have deep respect for those who have a talent for this … I look at ballet dancers and dancers who perform in other venues, but it is something that I am purely incapable of doing … I have tried, and I find it extremely uncomfortable to the point where I find it very difficult to even move. I’ve had people tell me “but you were in marching band, dancing is the same thing”. It is not.

Thus I am left scratching my head in my latest “I can’t say no” to my school superiors ….

At the end of the month, for our winter assembly, the school will be putting on “Dancing With the Faculty” (something based on a TV show where people dance with celebrities). I got called in and asked if I was aware of this. Before they continued I told them that there is no way on Earth I can dance. Fortunately, this is not what I was being taped for, since the dancers have already been arranged and are in training. Rather, I am being asked to be one half of the mc’ing corps (with a TBD woman). So, I have been assigned to watch the TV show, and to go out and get a tuxedo.

Part of this job involves developing interview questions to pre-interview the couples so that these can be played on the closed circuit HDTV network at the school.

So, I need to get educated on dance … I really wish Seattle were a few thousand miles closer so I could more readily consult the experts.

More on the person who married my sister-in-law

January 10, 2010

My brother finally met with my parents today … at first, things got heated … my brother pinned a lot on my father, called him a drunk, would not call him “dad or father” (just referred to him as “him” or “he” …. this really pisses my father off to no end, though he has referred to my mother , my siblings, and I like that on occasion). My father walked out briefly, and then my brother left altogether. My mother coaxed him to return. They worked things out … even offered to let him move back in (not going to tell you the cringe that went through my backbone at that).

He basically admitted that he had (romantically) fallen out of love with my sister-in-law, and that they had been having problems for some time.

My interpretation is that my brother was shocked to learn that the nature of their relationship changed after being married, and changed even more when their first child came along. My brother has never had a good track record of communication, so these problems likely simmered for a long time, and then finally he felt that he was in a position where he wasn’t feeling the intimacy, and sought it out.

The irony (in my opinion) is that my brother was very quick and easy to lay the blame at my father’s feet when his family was forced to move out of my parent’s home, and was quick to continue blaming him today.

The one piece of news that was something of a positive development (this being the first time my brother and father had been together since my sister’s wedding in June. My brother has finally relented and allowed my father to see his kids, so sometime soon, my dad should be able to see his grandson for the first time. My parents have also allowed my brother the use of their home to meet with the kids when they visit with him.

Brother (?) update

January 5, 2010

My brother was visited by his three closest friends today. They all tried to talk some sense into him … one said that if it weren’t for the fact that they had been friends for 20 years, he would have kicked his ass (compared to my friends who would not let 25 years of friendship stand in the way of beatings … should I ever reach this level of stupidity). It did not work.

He did briefly meet with my sister-in-law to have his name removed from the bank accounts. He has also agreed to meet with my parents, provided that my sister and I are not present. Apparently, he suspects that my mom and dad’s maternal/paternal instincts may stay their hand …. Pepper and I have no such instincts and would not hesitate to administer skull splitting, liver pureĆ©ing beatings. My brother is retaining a little of his intelligence.

At this point, I suspect he has made up his mind, and I suspect that after Thursday, he will be officially disowned from the family, and persona non grata.

I think that I have grown into a fairly tolerant person, but I am having a hard time thinking that I would not join my parents in dropping him from the family.

Proving there is no low he won’t go for …

January 4, 2010


Rod Blagojevich …. embattled former Illinois governor/D list celebrity/weasel at large will be a contestant on Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice.

He will be joined by Olympic athlete Michael Johnson, former glam rocker Cyndi Lauper, former baseball star/addict Daryl Strawberry, pro wrestler Goldberg, and Victoria’s Secret model Selita Ebanks.

The good news is that when it comes to looking at this group and finding the person who had the most and threw it all away, Daryl Strawberry will not be the #1 person on that list.

I can only assume that a guest voice shot on The Simpsons is coming soon … they got Tony Blair …. getting an ex-Guv seemingly willing to whore what little fame he has left can’t be that big a deal. Of course, The Simpsonsis too classy a show for someone like him.

Stay classy, Mr. Governor ….. stay classy.

Throw this on, on top of everything else …

January 3, 2010

As just about all of you know, 2009 has not been a banner year for the family …. dad’s drinking was one issue …. then the refusal of my brother and sister to talk to him became another issue …. my father finally telling my brother to “F$@$! off” after trying to engage him in conversation via e-mail was another.

2010 was looking to be better by default.

That hope lasted 1.8 days.

Last night I got a call from my sister. My brother is separating from his wife of four years. Reason: my brother has been carrying on an affair with another woman for the better part of the last year … dating to a point just after his wife was pregnant for the second time.

My sweet and loving sister-in-law has been suspicious for some time, but my brother denied everything until she could confront him with credit card charges and other such things that proved something was happening. My brother came clean, and earlier today devastated my mother with the news. After all mom has been through, this is the last bit of news that she needed. Needless to say, my sister and my parents are all 100% behind his wife and the kids.

I talked to my sister-in-law briefly today, and all she could say is that she is very concerned about him, and thinks things can be worked out. I would like to work out on my brother … preferably with a war hammer or something in the meat cleaver family. They had just moved into a beautiful home …. two beautiful healthy kids … and a wife with a heart of gold … almost certainly flushed away.

Needless to say my feelings of anger directed toward my brother are rather extreme right now … he has not called me, which proves that he knows enough of what I would say to him. Given what I went through in my life, I am identifying with his two kids right now, especially my little goddaughter who is the same age I was when my parents went through a divorce.

I am filing this under “friends and family” because I don’t have a category called “friends, family, and rat bastard scumbag homewreckers”. I will endeavor to work on that.