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11 March 2011 @ 01:56 pm
Finally Friday...  
Lauren is home sick today (bad cold or flu), and for a change, Christopher is not. He's been out due to vomiting off and on since the school year started. Two weeks ago, he finally told us that he was being bullied by various kids in his classes. One kid in particular spent a lot of time digging at him, calling him "gay" and so on. We've encouraged both kids to use words to fight back, so Christopher's been doing that very successfully. I just wish he'd mentioned it sooner! This has been a tough year for him, stresswise, and all of it stems from the weird (and vicious) social dynamics of middle school. The year started out with him being dumped on by one of the few elementary-school friends who'd also chosen to do 6th grade at middle school. Apparently, finding a target for other kids to laugh at was how THAT boy dealt with his stress. Whee. But (since this is the kid Christopher said was "blocking his life-path" in second grade), I did find out that the social-bullying thing is something this boy drifts into, and that's why Christopher isn't always close to him.

Randomly (I do not know how this started), HalfshellHusband has been playing Tom Lehrer for Christopher. So now he'll be the only kid his age who knows the lyrics to The Vatican Rag, much as I was, years ago. Except that my Dad also had a lot of Spike Jones records, so that was satire times two.

Several people have said it's safe to catch up on S6 of Supernatural, so I'll try to get that started this weekend.

Now I leave you with a fascinating and disturbing article from Outside Magazine that I read at the gym yesterday: Chernobyl, My Primeval, Teeming, Irradiated Eden. The map of the current "Exclusion Zone"—which shows a river running through the irradiated area and dumping into a lake that is outside the Exclusion Zone—pretty much summarizes the horrific lack of fear and understanding that people there ought to have for the dangers of what befell them and threatens them still.

Mara: Yaymara_snh on March 11th, 2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
I love Tom Lehrer. My husband just recently found his original 10" LP at a flea market for 50 cents, in perfect condition. Of course, we have all the others and the CD as well. It's so nice that the man is still living, still cool, still happy. I hope Christopher enjoys him as much as we do.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 12th, 2011 01:09 am (UTC)
I always got such a kick out of him, so I'm glad Christopher's enjoying him too.

I always enjoyed "New Math," for instance, even though in my day (and definitely in Christopher's) it was the only kind of math there was. We have no comparison to the earlier, 'easier' math, though I will say this: the whole concept of base-10 and base-2, etc., is something that could easily be deferred until high school and beyond. Only people who are really good at math and want to pursue it farther should have to be burdened without. Otherwise, it's needlessly confusing.
Mara: Yaymara_snh on March 12th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
I loved his patter: "Base 8 is just like Base 10, really -- if you're missing two fingers."

My favorite, though, was in his intro to the song about Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel: "It's people like that who make you realize how little you've accomplished. For example, when Mozart was my age, he'd been dead for three years."
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Laugh SPNhalfshellvenus on March 12th, 2011 03:14 am (UTC)

I found another good one on WikiQuote, which I wish more people (especially political frothers) would heed:

I feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up.
Maramara_snh on March 14th, 2011 01:47 am (UTC)
Yes! I love that one, too. Just think how little has changed in all these years. *sigh*
cindytsuki_no_bara on March 11th, 2011 11:15 pm (UTC)
that article about chernobyl is fascinating. the area was part of a miniseries about the world after people a couple years ago, because flora and fauna wise it's a perfect example of what happens when the entire human population vanishes almost overnight. but also, the abandoned city is creepy as fuck. and, uh, i kind of want to see it, radiation and all.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 12th, 2011 01:14 am (UTC)
Wasn't that great? I really found it mesmerizing, though also horrifying. The descriptions of the weed-crowded streets made me think of "I Am Legend", and the idea of a 10-foot-long catfish is frankly creepy.

I understand the temptation to see it, too (they're opening it for highly-restricted tours this year), though I don't think I'd want to take the risk. And the people who've moved back in there and are eating food grown in that soil.. *cries* I know the government can't do much other than to educate them, but it makes me sad.

OTOH, sending people into the zone to work, for whatever reason? I just think that's wrong.
realpestilencerealpestilence on March 12th, 2011 02:22 am (UTC)
How is Christopher? What kind of support network does he have at school-teachers or other staff? I'm so sorry he has to deal with that.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 12th, 2011 03:34 am (UTC)
He's doing much better. He's at the point where he's decided he should lay off the bully for awhile, and see if he behaves himself.

We suggested talking to a couple of his teachers about moving him to a different seat (he sits right next to two of these pests), but he didn't want us to do that. He felt (very mature, actually) that he should handle this himself by going on the offensive.

Because really (and I remember this from my own experiences), the only way to stop a bully is to dish it right back. They're usually insecure, and if you attack their insecurities fiercely and in public... they learn to fear you. And they shut up.

We're open to talking to the counselor (who's really nice) or his teachers if need be, but so far he's asked us not to.

This sure isn't one of the fun parts of parenting. :(
Princess Robot Bubblegum!astrothsknot on March 12th, 2011 11:23 pm (UTC)
AT least the school hasn't being trying the "lets all be friends" route or Christopher's not allowed to stand up for himself.

I'm glad he's handling so maturely and feels better in himself
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 13th, 2011 07:44 am (UTC)
AT least the school hasn't being trying the "lets all be friends" route or Christopher's not allowed to stand up for himself
That goodess for THAT. We wouldn't stand for it, either.

My parents used to advise "Ignore them, and they'll stop" for situations like this. It's as if neither of them had ever actually been a child.

Having tried their "turn the other cheek" method is how I know it coesn't work... :(