Gouged & Gauged

Gouge_VT Gauge_VT

Dear Diary,

I feel less pain today as my fellow educators across the globe probe my writings to inform me of mutual discoveries in our places of learning. Our roles in society as teacher, educator, professor, lecturer, tutor, instructor, counselor, guide, and mentor were once titles that commanded respect and admiration.   The current onslaught of constant vilification by the very people paid 3 – 6 times more than those of us doing actual work with and for our students gouges all of our senses. Like a superhero, we deflect every arrow, sword, bullet and bomb, simultaneously protecting both our students and our mental health as we trudge forward to our classrooms, laboratories, and lecture halls. We do not cower from the formidable attack by top administrators and government officials.

“Onward toward earning your degree!” we shout in the foggy mists.

“Keep up; you’re nearly there! Final examinations are just around the next bend!” we encourage as we haul them through the last storm of writing papers and reports, reviewing texts, performing lab experiments, researching in the libraries, connecting to the world via online links.

Meanwhile, using every means possible, we are “weighed and measured” while support systems have been removed, salaries cut, and retiring faculty not replaced.

It is time, dear Diary, to walk on a lovely Spring day and set my mind to wander.

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Diary of Working Stiff: They Call Me Teacher.

Dear Diary,

I suffer stomach pain for the 35th hour since our administration took their second pay raise this academic year. The word “beleaguered” doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling from daily occurrences manufactured from the top “executive team” down to the lowly workers:  the teachers and staff. I was beleaguered on DAY ONE of the Spring semester after a short winter break. By Day two, the word was squared and by day three, cubed.

Since 2012, the college has been besieged by outside forces wishing to knock it to the ground and trample the hearts, minds, and souls of the inhabitants. Outsiders have been brought in to “fix the college”. It’s a fix, alright. But not the kind that repairs. The outsiders have been brought in to raid the treasury of San Francisco taxpayer dollars that have poured in after an election that year and don’t have a clue how to do anything but destroy the excellent education that we have offered since 1935.

Running along the increasing speed of the treadmill, the faculty find ourselves looking like Lucy & Ethel in their job at the chocolate factory, only it’s not funny as we gorge on mind-numbing and endless paperwork that we must manufacture for the “collection of data”.  We have discovered that the more data we must produce, the more problems arise with no one up the river knowing what to do with the data, so it comes back to us. We must now also assess the data ourselves and provide data on the data, then disaggregate the data only to aggregate it again to make some sort of discovery as to how successful we are with our students (certain student groups, actually) and their ability to learn what we teach them.

The problem for me is, the better I am at capturing all of the data, the worse I become as a teacher, because now I have taken on a new job:  statistician and data wonk.  This is something I never aspired to and am honestly not very good at.  LUCKILY, we have some amazing faculty at the college (note:  faculty) who have created a way for us to simply do data entry and have a program produce the numbers. WOO HOO!  Problem there is, again, data entry takes time and we are asked to enter more data about other things well beyond the student learning.  Thus, my point on data about the data. Everything in the entire college needs to be measured and weighed with the work being placed on the already overloaded working stiff.  Yes, the teacher.

I did purposefully leave out the “a” in the title because this is not about “a working stiff” but rather working oneself to become “stiff” as in “dead”. As my colleague commented to me this morning when I told him about the title: “I’ve avoided the ‘indefinite article‘ my entire life.” (God, I love him. It’s so fun to have a good laugh with a fellow educator who also cares about our students and our work for them.)  Back to “working stiff”: it appears to be the wish of our government and the neoliberals who have taken control of the entire public education system to grind teachers into dust and repeatedly point at them in the news with lies about how little they do.  Well, get this. Did you know that Obama’s appointed Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, isn’t even an educator?  He’s been an education administrator his entire career!  Pardon me, but if an administrator does not hail from the trenches from which they are appointed to administrate, then how the hell do they know what to do?  They have no training! One must spend time for years in the classroom before understanding the first thing about educating people. Therein lay the problem, dear Diary. This is not about the teachers.

This brings me back to the college where they call me “teacher”. We have one person in our administration who hails from faculty and has been an active educator. That person is leaving the college for reasons not made public, but those of us who teach do understand.  When you have an executive team of other administrators around you who throw crazy ideas into your daily mix without going through any due process to see if these ideas have any validity, then it forces you to consider your options.  Well, we have more people opting OUT at the end of this semester than ever before, jumping ship alongside that one qualified administrator. Who can blame any of them? Working 90(+)- hours-a-week with truckloads more requests from top administration to do more as well as keep up with their crazy notions and the shoddy work of highly-paid consultants takes a toll.  Who wants to continue that life when you have an option? But the saddest part is, dear Diary, that many don’t have an option. They have a family to feed and have mounting debts due to the fact that we have not seen a raise since 2007. In fact, we’ve had nothing but pay CUTS at our workplace in the most expensive city in the United States.  It’s emotionally unbearable to do the math to calculate what I earn per hour of work since it includes mornings, days, nights, and weekends. I still can’t keep up. The to-do list grows and grows. I believe it’s up to 19 pages in a 4-point font.

Well, Diary. I should probably go for a walk to keep myself from the first half of the title.  My head has joined in with my stomach as both commiserate in pain. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.  Thanks for listening.

data Faculty word ClusterThank you Apophenia Inc. for the word images

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Fail Your Way to the Top and Get a Raise Too!

Have you heard about the new dance craze in America?

All of the people over $150K earnings for upper administrative/management employment are shimmying and shadowing to the beat – it’s called the BEAT DOWN of those actually doing all of the work!  It’s truly amazing because the tempo is quite erratic, but they can actually dance to it.

Catch this!  The worse you are in your job in what you do and how you do it, along with  the more catastrophes you cause in the workplace, the more you earn!  Isn’t that AMAZING???  The game of Monopoly we played when we were kids was so stupidly simple.  You had to do well to make money.  But not anymore!

Only in the United States, right?  But better yet, when the bum idiot Republican in Wisconsin proved that he could attack the workers in such a way, worse than the U.S. had witnessed in decades, and STILL beat a recall election because millions of dollars were pouring in to his campaign from outside of the state to “beat down the worker”, it truly says all.  This country has fully “gone to the weeds” and the ugly rancor of corporate America has deeply embedded itself in the flag. The Stars and Stripes are a facade of the truth which does NOT set you free here.

This is no longer a “working country”. It’s a giant, fuck-all-grab-everything-in-sight kind of Game of Thrones warfare going on here. It’s a full-on cancer on the entire American mantra of “work hard, save, raise a family, be a good citizen, and repeat”.  Because it’s impossible to do that in light of the top tier taking all of the raises, all of the mother lode while providing ZIPPO, NADA. They don’t even provide solid LEADERship!  They suck at THAT too!

Here’s a good one for you on a smaller but truly huge scale: the commission that accredits the Community Colleges of California employs people in their leadership who were once thrown out of their colleges by faculty and staff in a vote of “no confidence”.  Makes one wonder: how did these people get to move UP to the position of accrediting all community colleges in California when their own district where they once had a job as “President” or Chancellor or what have you actually let them go?  Who the hell knows?  But what we know and live and breathe every day in my workplace is that they have had their talons in our college for over a decade. They have an axe to grind.  We are a huge community college and like any business or large institution, there have been problems.  Nothing to stop us from doing the best work of the entire state mind you.  Our students rank among the highest.

Three years ago when an “inside job” created an opening to a crazy and nefarious accrediting decision to the college of “Show Cause”.  This “decision” translates to “why should we keep you open?”. At this point, we were delivered a series of “administrators” to take over, run the college, and “turn it around”.  They have done nothing more than run it into the ground hook, line, and sinker. We have been struggling with a huge lack of air while working ourselves into a frenzy to keep the place alive and open to our 70,000 credit and noncredit students.  The more we work, the more they seem to undermine our efforts hiring consultants to the tune of millions and a video marketing firm from guess where?   WISCONSIN!  Imagine that!

Best yet, many of them hail from the Lone Star State which has been infiltrating California by the truckloads lately.  Manifest Destiny has been picked up again, but now it’s a push to buy in and push OUT anyone who thinks differently than the body snatchers.  Progressive SF, take heed.  Who is buying your property?

So, tonight, I write this because after an attempt to deny faculty a pay raise on a pre-2007 salary that has been cut twice, the upper-level administrators just allowed themselves a pay raise that was passed by our Board of Trustees. (Well, actually one Super Trustee who is the current Czar of the board.  They have no voting power…circle back to Wisconsin, Scott Walker, et al).

LotL Fail Your Way to the Top_

Manifest Destiny:  Historian Frederick Merk: this concept was born out of “A sense of mission to redeem the Old World by high example…generated by the potentialities of a new earth for building a new heaven”.

Texans in California building a “new heaven”.  Mark my words…

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If you could ask a citizen of Europe…

What would you want to know about the life they live with free healthcare and education?  What questions would you ask if you traveled there and wished to capture the most amazing part of the world that asks not a penny from you to educate you and to provide you, a citizen, a chance to have your health cared for and catered to?

I have plenty of questions that I plan to ask the people in the libraries, the museums, and later, the pubs…the artists on the streets and in the galleries…the musicians in the clubs and the conservatories. What do YOU want to know?  I’m capturing everything I can find to report back to us…the “us” living in this vapid existence imbued with the worst capitalistic greed that has spread its talons to all aspects of our government, schools, hospitals, places that should be our domains of solace and safety.

I’m on a citizen-of-the-world mission to find the most civic-minded places that exist on earth.  What defines “civic-minded” you might ask?  It’s truly simple and one idea that America no longer comprehends because it doesn’t fit into a McDonald’s, Disney, Alcoa advertisement.   “Civic-minded” is an adjective and means:

Concerned with civic interests or active in community affairs.
Send your questions to danaj33@gmail.com.  I’ll record the answers for you…
Healthcare Stats  See who is not even IN THE RANKINGS HERE.
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Predicate Mediocrity

Dana Jae’s NEXTworld Blog #222

America, overwhelmed by the globalization titans, forges ahead. Her citizens are lost in the daily ritual of wash, rinse, repeat. The re-spinning of Warren G. Harding’s vapid proclamation of a “return to normalcy”, thwarts the political process. Harding frequently used the term “bloviate” which is about to fall upon us again as we witness the line up of idiot Repugnicans who wish to preside over this once decent nation. Since the Bush dynasty took hold, it has become a national tragedy, in my opinion, to watch and listen to these narrow-minded, uncharitable marionettes spew the hateful verbiage of the Plutocrats.  So, here we go into another election-cycle media debacle.

Some suggested reading and viewing before the false fanfare begins:  Bill Moyers’ March 25, 2015 article: “Is a New Political System Emerging in This Country?” is an excellent introduction followed by a viewing of the film by the great educator and statesman Robert Reich. “Inequality For All” is now available on Netflix and is a must-see for every American. Couple that with a second feature “Citizen Koch” and  your family viewing will be complete.  I watched both last night. They helped to connect my personal work space issues with those of the rest of the nation. Even dyed-in-the-wool, old-school Republicans (if you watch “Citizen Koch”) believe that their party has been usurped by those empowered by “Tea”.  These are the Americans who typify the zombie-like quality of a mediocre mind that can no longer distinguish personal reality from repeated words advertised to them or from bloviation from Rush Limbaugh and his media ilk. [Disheartening side note: the end of the “Citizen Koch” film credits reveal that it was originally slated for PBS but was pulled before its run due to David Koch’s affiliation with PBS.]

A predicate mediocrity overwhelms the mind, heart, and soul.

Inequality For All_2 Inequality For All 3

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Peristaltic Procession

First, let me thank my friend Monica for lending me her excellent David Lodge novel, “Nice Work”, as this provided me with today’s title.

Ah! another entry in Dana Jae’s NEXTworld blog:

I’ve been reading a bit of the Guardian UK this week. Here’s a good one that you won’t find here in the US: a very real and frank opinion about our government:


An interesting pull-quote:   Photographer Gregg Carlstrom succinctly summed it up last week as Saudi Arabia started to drop bombs on Yemen: “US praises US ally for bombing US-equipped militia aligned with US foe who is partnering with US to fight another US-equipped militia.”

Well, there you have it. Oh, and while our government starts, stops, starts again, funds, halts, thwarts, infuses, and covertly runs wars all over the planet in the name of “democracy” they are also doing this at the state level:

New York Budget Eliminates Sales Tax on Yachts Over $230,000

Go ahead, click that link and just read it already.  The title actually reads just like this:

New York Lawmakers Carve Out Sales-Tax Exemption for Struggling Yacht Buyers

Can you believe this shit?  Struggling yacht buyers?  You have got to be freaking KIDDING me!  Sometimes I wonder if I’m waking up in a nightmare of someone conjuring up words to be printed that would piss Dana off so badly that she’ll run wild through the streets screaming, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” (Thank you Paddy Chayefsky for that iconic dialog line.)  I mean, what shall I do?  Is this testing me to sit quietly with my hands folded in prayer or redouble Occupy efforts and dump the tea out into the harbor?

Hey, I have an idea!  Let’s bail out everyone with over $200,000 a year in income so that they can pave a way to bigger and better life of luxury and let’s make it harder for a poor adult to go to college.  How about it?  Shall I make us some posters painted in red with the words YES TO BANKS ! NO TO STUDENTS!  written boldly?  It’s the big “Screw You!” to everyone in America who earns less than $250K annually, and a REALLY big, triple “Screw You!” if you earn under $100K and live in a coastal city. Ha, we won’t even let you afford a home! Lord forbid if you have a family…but no worries because our lawmakers don’t want you to have an abortion nor even have birth control really.  I mean, what’s up?  Have a big family with lots of kids already!  We need them to learn to code!  Birth a billion coding babies so that we don’t have to find people from other countries to do God’s work. Everywhere on every web page to every street corner: see the ads to get your kids to code! Learn code! Try the new coding game! Buy the new elementary coding book! Go to THIS school; we’ll teach your kid to code! Code Academy! (repeat)  See Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” and read Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World“.  Important aside: “Metropolis” was made in Germany in 1927 during the Weimar period. Feel free to check out the Wiki on the Weimar Republic.

Now for another humbling moment of reality:

Top 10 First World Countries in Terms of Press Freedom

Reporters Without Borders is publishing annually an index of the countries of the world according to their respect for press freedom.
The 10 highest-ranked countries with the most media independence are in Europe.
Below the list of countries, at the top of the fourth World Press Freedom Index.

Rank Country Region Score
1 Denmark Northern Europe 0,50
Finland Northern Europe 0,50
Iceland Northern Europe 0,50
Ireland Northern Europe 0,50
Netherlands Western Europe 0,50
Norway Northern Europe 0,50
Switzerland Western Europe 0,50
8 Slovakia Eastern Europe 0,75
9 Czech Republic Eastern Europe 1,00
Slovenia Southern Europe 1,00

See?  Can you find the United States anywhere in that top 10?  Um, no. We only boast our numbers in terms of the things we want to prove to you in order for you to want to be like us, only I’m here to tell you:  it ain’t worth it!  The place has gone to the ditches and  has become a country that the rest of the world should NOT emulate.

America has been teetering on a gluttonous path of self-destruction and the smoke thickens every minute.   This is the best government money can buy. Problem is, if you don’t have much, you’re outta luck, kiddo.  Lawmakers = ha.  What a great compound word giving me a compound fracture in my corpuscles. Lawmaker = money grabber.

I’m in a daily peristaltic procession through life. Happy go-lucky one minute and ticked off the next.

One last note from Willie Nelson: “Good mornin’, America, how are ya? Say, don’t ya know me? I’m your native son.”

Uncle Sam Dope Fiend Thank you Kirill Klip for this independence day graphic along with the words.

America-Money and wggb.com for this one.

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Sonic iPadosopher

Here we go on another journey into the “pad world” of the very touch-able iPad apps for sound.  This is one area that I constantly learn from one of my previous students who actually made me want to buy an iPad just because of his awesome use of it for sonically creative purposes.  He has, once again, turned me on to a new app that is GENIUS!

Check out this review of Borderlands 2.0.  Woof.

Do not forget the previously mentioned Music App Blog site that this very same student sent me to on my sophomore exploration once I had my iPad for a bit.  John Walden has a GREAT site here. The byline is “Music App Reviews, News and Tutorials for the Mobile Music Producer”.   This is his posting today.  If you’re a budding or pro iPadosopher, you’re going to want to bookmark this site.

Now, are you in San Francisco?  How about the east bay, north bay, south bay?  If so, you’re going to HAVE TO STOP IN HERE.  San Francisco’s ROBOTSPEAk is truly a stop for any of you MIDI and otherwise audio geeks.  If you’re visiting SF, be sure to make a stop here.  It is THE Synth Shop on Haight Street (which is not what it used to be, but certainly worth a stroll some afternoon with a stop in here.  It closes at 6p, so make it an early day of fun and sound exploration.

Since we’re speaking of sound waves (though I understand this current post is about the digital kind), I can’t help but tell you about this amazing place in SF as well:  The Wave Organ. Make this stop a part of that  Haight Street visit to ROBOTSPEAk (this one further toward the water) so that you can truly tell the difference between that which is binary code man-made and purely physically man-made.  Woo.

“SO, what about that damn iPad you dragged me here to read about?”  OK, OK. I hear you.  I’m just saying take a minute to look and listen to real things too, Sherlock. No harm intended.  My digressions are over.

How about ANIMOOG?   Oh yeah.  Check this $^&%  out.  Moog is a thoroughly old-skool synth and a wonderful new sonic example of a company reinventing itself for modernity.  This one is in the “raise your glass to toast to Moog” category.  Anyone know where the name MOOG comes from?   Forget searching on your Oracle, just go to this wonderful legacy section of the MoogMusic site.  Pour a bourbon, kick back, and read. Then, download an app on your pad and all hail to the phat of Bob Moog! Genius! Electronic extraterrestrial explorations extraordinaire!

What about Audio Tools?  This can’t be overlooked.  Check THIS for that.

Perhaps a little focus in on MIDI via John Walden’s greatly informative link here: MIDI 101.

I know you’re already cursing me for the extra reading tonight, but this is how ONE keeps UP with the SONIC exploratorium of one’s mind and cochlea.  Don’t forget to listen…


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