Saturday, October 06, 2007

Banned Books Week

Today is the last day of Banned Books week, and I just want to encourage everybody (belatedly), to go grab a book from the top-100 (complaints) list:

Top 100 Challenged Books, 1990-2000

Or from the top challenges since 2000:

1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

2. "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier

3. Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

4. "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck

5. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou

6. "Fallen Angels" by Walter Dean Myers

7. "It's Perfectly Normal" by Robie Harris

8. Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz

9. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

10. "Forever" by Judy Blume

And celebrate your continued access to books that *other people* find offensive by reading them!

I don't like all these books, not by a long shot. I *do* like some of them. And I think that is of essence here - should which books I like or don't like dictate the ability of others to access them? NO! If Reverend Head-Up-His-Ass who has never even READ Harry Potter wants them banned and urges his congregation to file complaints at every opportunity (it actually seems very common that people who complain about books have never even read the book they are complaining about, at least in those accounts I've read) - that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ME and should not affect my ability to access those books.

This is not an arguement about whether these books are crappy, but rather, about whether we have a right to read and like books that other people think are crappy.

And allow me to just point out how shockingly stupid this concept is given what is readily and constantly available on television sets in everyone's living rooms. At least you have to work to get into and through a challenged book. There are a good number of titles on there that never say anything you can't find on the evening programming for The Disney Channel.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Oh, Onsite Week

In the midst of the insanity that is onsite week. Which might not have been so bad this go-round, except that I had put off some preparation work. So here I am at 2am, finished a presentation about half an hour ago (to give tomorrow morning), and absolutely wired to the CEILING after 2 large mugs of coffee. My presentation is going to be 1) awesome for what it actually is, and 2) perhaps something that I will have to repeat entirely, because it only peripherally addresses the exact assignment as it was written. But I think it covers important ground I don't know. I *do* know that it is too late to change topics - by far.

I adore, love, the newest incarnation of Office. But if there is a shortcoming in PowerPoint, it is that you STILL can't wrap text that is continuous in a text box around a picture that is a separate item automatically. Come on now. That has GOT to be something that people want to just DO. Buh-bye 20 minutes of my life doing it.

I am also finding myself increasingly nervous about actually getting in a clinical placement and getting my objectives accomplished. Like, before I was growing impatient, and now when I think about the timeline my physical stress level rises (ah, don't you love that system? can't I just shut it up sometimes, like after I've had 2 large mugs of coffee and a cookie in the last 6 hours and am feeling a bit not-nice in the belly already?). Hearing about how some other students are moving through clinical and getting stuff done is simultaneously encouraging and stress-inducing, because I'm so far from it. Hearing about how many other students are in situations similar to my own is nothing short of terrifying. Will we all get the placements we need? Is the school in fact looking after us adequately? Will our already-dimished class diminish further? We are down to 9. So we've lost more than a third of our original class in about a third of our total school time.

I went ahead and dumped on Fran the fact that I am really nervous and uncertain about how my clinical thing is going to come down. I realized that I hadn't clearly TOLD him that I feel that way about it at this point. But I told him in response to a question he asked...and I wasn't ready to really talk about it. It sucked to basically say "I feel really uneasy and scared about this, but I need to process it first and I really am not up to that right now." (Yes those were nearly my exact words, only there were children running around and I was sitting at the computer and he was pacing back and forth getting them juice, so the net effect was even more crazy than it sounds.) He told me that he didn't think that it was going to be as difficult as I was thinking, and that we would do what we needed to do. Viola, role reversal. What the hell.

I'm falling back on not thinking about things until I get a new piece of information, because my energy is out. This has been the decision since approximately, oh, last Wednesday. So far? Not working so much.