For all things Tooks, and some things, er, relating to other people. As well as to other things. You get the picture.

31 October 2007

So Halloween has been a bit of a flop, I must admit. I mean the actual Halloween night deal--trick-or-treaters, etc. Squirrels ate the head off the ghost on my jack-o-lantern, and the hordes of youth never really materialized, despite our ideal neighborhood conditions: near-suburban location, closely spaced houses, and rich folks left, right and center (i.e., abundant, awesome candy). So where are these kids? I only had about five doorbell rings all night. WTF?

Ah, well. It's never as good as when we were kids. We'd hit 500 houses before 8:00, then head back to HQ and meticulously catalogue and analyze the loot. We'd barter and trade and scheme for our favorites, trying to score the best bargain and give the least away, more saavy and cunning than a Moroccan spice trader. Then we'd milk that stash at least until Thanksgiving and maybe til Christmas. Towards the end, you'd find yourself thinking, "Well, if I have one tiny bite of this Milk Dud now, and then another this afternoon, I might not have to open that pack of Now and Laters until the weekend." It was a chance to hone your self-discipline and even self-denial--important virtues in a Puritan home.

Anyhoo, now we find our fun in different ways. Namely, we dress up and go to parties and/or bars. Which is less sugary, but more alcoholicky, so I guess it evens out. And this year, on Saturday night, Cat and I entered a costume contest run by the local alternative newsweekly. They photographed us with results you see above.

We did not win, as far as I know. But the public adored us unabashedly. Or rather, they adored my lady. She was mobbed on the street: "Oh my GOD! It's Ugly Betty! Betty, we love you! Touch us! Love us! You're amazing! You get me! Only you can save my child!" And on it went. They even accidentally tore off her wig while embracing her. Now, granted, they were a little blottoed (ok, maybe a lot blottoed) but nonetheless, it appears from this over-the-top ecstasy of the inebriated revelers that the woman got things just right and touched a nerve. The only thing missing was the braces. But you can't have it all.

So there we were, Betty and Henry. We had a blast, and Halloween was saved, even before it had a chance to begin. What was truly scary about my costume is just how well big clunky black glasses and a sweater vest make me into Ultra Nerd. My large protruding Adam's apple is clearly not helping matters, either. Note to self: take care of your eyes and avoid garments without sleeves. There's scary, and then there's scary.

Love you some America Garcia with me,


27 October 2007

A flurry of posts

Let's keep the gravy train rolling:

This video will change your life, and your memories of the mid-to-early eighties:

This one's not quite as good, although still worth watching a minute of:

"Have the power" with me,


Yep, it's just that kind of Saturday.

Be lazy and Halloweeny with me,


26 October 2007

So on Sunday night I was talking to my mom about mother-son stuff--job, lady, house, dog, hygiene, family gossip, weather. You know. The usual.

We ran through the usual list, and I was sensing the wrap-up coming on. Sure enough: "Ok, honey, I've got to go. My man's up to bat--Big Papi."

Excuse me?

First, my mom is not supposed to have more than a very cursory knowledge of sports. She knows what the names of the Boston teams are in the four major sports, she knows more or less what the championships are called, and she knows to hate the Yankees. So what's with this "my man" and "Big Papi" stuff?

And now she watches the game, too? Or only when her man's up to bat?

And how does my dad fit in to all of this?

It's like blundering into an after-school special, but without the Mormon commercials.

I'm so alone, and no one understands me. Just like a sixth grader.

Feel lost and bewildered with me, but go Sox anyway,


17 October 2007

It's possible, though not entirely likely, considering my recent unhurried blogging, that I may hit 100 lifetime posts this year. This one's # 92. I think we should throw a party when I do. Just like when Abe and I spent a week planning a celebration for the 80,000th copy on the copier when we worked at Sylvan Learning Center during the summer after freshman year in high school. Except that that time, the Texan woman couldn't wait, and she made the 80,000th copy without letting anyone know, and we had to settle for the 80,004th copy. So I guess I would want my 100th Post Extravaganza to be less lame than that.

I always say this, but I mean it this time: I'm going to try to post more often. I need eight more posts this year to make it by New Year's Eve, and that gives me roughly 10 weeks. So I need to post about once a week, give or take. That's doable, but it will take commitment, perseverence, lavish praise and comments from you all, and some memorable moments from 24 sixth graders I know.

This week, the latter came through. Unlike the Red Sox, who seem to be sucking for some inexplicable reason. My kids, mostly Yankee fans, are still reeling over the early elimination of the Evil Empire. SInce I refrained from heckling them when their team sucked--I didn't even wear my Red Sox tie that looks like a bat, the one I stole from my dad--they have been silent on the three blown games by our own Beantown Bunglers. Silence, for sixth graders, is significant.

In fact, they may be trying in their way to ease my angst. During kickball at recess today, one young man lined up a pitch and called out, "Watch, Mr. Ruderman, I'm about to nail it just like Big Papi."

I choked back a tear of grateful affection. Apparently they hate you one minute, and hate you less the next. Ain't life grand?

Bask in the glow of less sixth grade hate with me,


06 October 2007

And I quote:

"Mr. Ruderman, I'm sorry, but everyone hates you. And I do too, well kind of but I still hate you.

[name withheld]."

So teaching's going well. Actually, it really is. Are some of my students unhappy? Yes. Are some of them unafraid to express their true feelings in their responsive journals? Absolutely. Are there days when my teacher vein--that one on my left temple that pulses when I reach thermal meltdown stage--feels like it's the size of a drainage pipe and about to bust open? Yep.

But on the whole, so far so good. Insanely busy, of course, with the prep and paper-pushing and Open House and parent conferences and five-week report cards and DRA's and AIS plans and... You get the picture. But there are days when we laugh a lot and I shout only a little and we work together ok and maybe a few of my 24 actually learn something.

So I'm hanging in. I'll wrap up with a quote from another student:

"Today was a good day because the [other] students didn't say mean things to me and J. talked to me and we didn't fight that's why I'm very happy but I was also sad."

The truth is the truth for students of any age.

Go back to the sixth grade with me,