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Everything posted by EleCivil

  1. You could certainly make that case. After all, they're putting on display the truth behind their visions of the world, opening themselves up for others to view and critique, and expecting that by displaying this part of themselves, the quaking, shivering vulnerability of self-exposed truth, they can awaken the emotions of others. I would argue that art - real damned art - displays something far more personal than simply flashing one's junk. If so, isn't all art exhibitionism? And isn't all art narcissistic? If the goal of art is (and I apologize in advance, as I can't stand any sentence that includes a phrase like "the goal of art is," because it is almost certainly wrong, haha) to capture a moment in time and share the power, beauty, or meaning of that moment with the world, then I could see the case for this performance being art. But, of course, I haven't seen it, so I can't judge. After all, the difference between art and pornography is "Well...I'll know it when I see it."
  2. I want to say Long Day by dabeagle. http://www.dabeagle.com/storymainpages/longday.htm
  3. Thanks, James and Colin. I'm happy to see a lot of familiar readers from the Laika and L&L days coming back for this one! I was looking through some old emails the other day, and I realized that by posting on Nifty, I was able to refer a lot of readers to AD - they would email me, say "Hey, where's the rest?", and I'd link them here and point them toward the forums. Some of them even started posting and writing for AD. That's the one thing I'll miss about posting to Nifty - that feeling of being an ambassador of The Dude. What I WON'T miss is my stories turning up on a bunch of really sketchy sites, posted seemingly at random by spammers who do not understand English. (Why the hell would you copy/paste the tenth chapter of a gay coming-of-age story that includes no actual sex on your straight porn site? Come on, man!)
  4. There's a story making the rounds now about a teacher of 19 years who was fired from a Catholic school when her (female) partner's name was printed along with hers in her mother's obituary. A parent called and complained, so they canned her. http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/08/lesbian-teacher-at-ohio-catholic-school-wont-get-her-job-back/ A lot of the stories are saying that she was fired for "marrying" her partner, but that doesn't seem like the case - there's no same-sex marriage in Ohio - the Bishop says that she had "a quasi-spousal relationship". It's bullshit, of course, but there's no legal recourse - the school is privately owned and funded, and therefore permitted to discriminate based on religious grounds. I get it. Picture this: You're a (bigotted, ridiculous) religious parent, and you're willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to cloister your kid away from the evils of the secular world...only to find out that even within the private system, humans are still human, and some of them are different from you. DAMN. So you write to the boss and complain, saying "Get this sinner away from my innocent little angel, or I'll stop giving you tens of thousands of dollars." It's the free market at work. There's a market for discrimination, so someone is going to sell it. Hooray for captialism, right? Full disclosure: I attended a private Catholic university. Not for the religion - I was raised Baptist, and by the time I hit college, I was firmly agnostic - but that particular school had a reputation for having the best education department in the area. If your teaching resume had that university's name on it, your resume got shuffled to the top of the stack, and all that. However, the university allowed openly gay instructors, openly atheist instructors, and in fact, one of my favorite professors was from India and was a practicing Hindu. Come to think of it, one education professor was flamboyantly gay - gay as a tangerine! - and would perform drag shows to raise money for Planned Parenthood. Kind of everything the hardcore Catholics hated, but he was still on staff. They were also okay with officially recognizing student LGBT organizations on campus. So, hey - progress. After that, because all my education connections were nuns, I ended up briefly (VERY BRIEFLY) teaching in a private Catholic high school. It was awful. First, because I hate teaching high school - middle school is where the challenge lies. But then I had to lead the class in prayers, and the curriculum was all very bland and Bibley. In my contract, it spelled out that I could be fired for "behaviors not in line with Catholic teachings" - in other words, if I was found to be gay, or, for that matter, straight, but sleeping with a woman to whom I was not married, I would be fired instantly. Usually, teachers run from the inner-city ghetto to the Catholic schools, but I went the other way - top speed, and as soon as humanly possible.
  5. I should add that I'm not at a private school - a large number of private schools are religious in nature, and include such morality clauses. As a kid, my parents considered sending me to one that would expell you if you were caught listening to secular music, watching secular movies, or generally doing anything that did not directly involve God. Luckily, I convinced them to let me stay in public school.
  6. Yet another reason why I shake my head at ed. reformers who support vouchers/private schools/"school choice". As if there weren't enough reasons already, just from an educational standpoint. But it's not all bleak. I recently moved from a big city to live and teach in a middle-of-nowhere rural town in "God's Country" ("...because He's the only one that would want it," to quote my neighbors) - the kind of town that has one gas station, one school, one grocery store, one diner, five churches, and way more cows than humans. I'm in the middle school, but we regularly hear about high schoolers coming out, and it's not a big deal - the kids are cool with it, the teachers/admins are cool with it, etc. Sometimes the parents aren't very cool with it, but they know better than to do anything stupid like beat the kid or toss them out, because in a small town like this, that'd bring the wrath of all your neighbors down on you. I've even been to a few of the churches, since I teach the preachers' kids, and they invite me. For the most part, they're doing religion right - using it as a way to create a support system within the community, rather than using it to exclude those who don't fit in the community. I mean, hell, if they'll have ME - a self-professed eccentric from the big city with a "yankee" accent who teaches their kids about science, of all things - they'll have anybody.
  7. Since the Tea Party itself doesn't necessarily have a leader, but rather local chapters that have leaders, the ideology could change drastically depending on the chapter. Just as there are hardline evangelicals like this guy calling themselves Tea Party Leaders, there are probably plenty of fiscally conservative libertarian Tea Party Leaders who think this guy's an ass. That's the problem with starting a decentralized movement, I guess - you'll wind up with people who completely misunderstand your ideals flying your flag and wearing your t-shirt.
  8. Oh god, the more I read about this guy, the better it gets. He opposed HPV vaccines in favor of abstinence-only education. He says that calling "sodomites" gay is inappropriate. He says that the Aurora shootings were a case of "God lowering his protection", but that it was divine intervention that made it so that "only" twelve people were killed. I've got a theory. I think there must be a conservative strategist somewhere who keeps telling his people to get out there and make statements like this. And then he goes home at night and pulls off his Mrs. Doubtfire-esque mask, and he's really just this stereotypical liberal hippie, pulling some kind of false-flag operation to discredit the GOP. By day, he goes by "Greg Whiteford," drives an American pickup truck and has a sensible haircut. By night, he's Moonbeam Ramirez, the gay, pot-smoking animal rights activist. He works as a tenured professor in the department of Anti-American Studies at Harvard, but is somehow also in a public teacher's union and is collecting welfare, even though he has yet to produce his birth certificate. So when you see a headline that says something like "Tea Party Leader Says We Should Sue the Concept of Homosexuality", just shake your head and say "Ramirez, you've done it again." I can't prove it, but it helps me sleep at night to believe that we're all being conned by some zany scheme. The alternative is to believe that our elected officials and political movements truly believe the insane things that they say, and that's just depressing.
  9. http://www.mediaite.com/online/tea-party-unity-founder-calls-for-class-action-lawsuit-against-homosexuality/ Long story short: Tea Party Dude thinks that homosexuality causes AIDS the same way cigarettes cause lung cancer, and therefore, everyone with AIDS should be allowed to join a class-action suit against gayness. He also suggests that FOX News isn't doing its part - that they need to show more stories about ex-gays. I love this story. It's just such an American mindset - "I don't like this abstract concept...but what can I do? Of course! I'll SUE it!"
  10. Thanks Lug, Pec, and Merkin! The great thing about posting stories on AwesomeDude is that you get feedback from excellent writers and readers who are expecting quality. When I see people whose talents I respect saying these things, it means a lot!
  11. Columbus? Been there, taught there. Met the kids, walked the streets. The article's accurate. In some neighborhoods, the most dangerous choice isn't to join a gang and carry a gun - it's to choose NOT to join a gang and carry a gun. If you're affiliated, you've got enemies, but you've got enough allies to make them think twice. If you're unaffiliated, you're everybody's target. This is a lot of what Geoffery Canada is trying to change with the Harlem Children's Zone and its spin-off schools. As much as I dislike the charter school movement (the vast majority of which is a corporate money-grab), Geoffery Canada seems like the real deal. A big part of his philosophy is that he isn't trying to educate kids to get them OUT of the ghetto, but rather educating kids so that they can grow up successful, stay in the area to act as role models to the next generation of kids, and eventually CHANGE the ghetto. The way he puts it, as it is right now, the kids in Harlem believe that if you're a young black man, you're either in jail or on the corner. If that's all you know, that's what you expect to be, whether you consciously believe it or not. This ties right in with Jonathan Kozol's work - he pointed out that students in poverty tend to be successful when they are in schools with a middle-class majority, and that those same kids tend to be unsuccessful when their school is mostly impoverished.
  12. Thanks, gentlemen! Throughout Laika, I was aiming for about 5000-7000 words per chapter, with a wait time of a month between chapters (I know, I know - some took way longer than a month). With LiP, I'm aiming at 3000-4000 words per chapter, with a new one each week. So far, so good. I actually like the shorter chapters from a storytelling perspective - that length provides a better rhythm, especially with how this story is structured. What I'm saying is, expect more soon. I've already got a few chapters in the can, and I'll be doing a final edit and submitting chapter two this week.
  13. Lives in Periphery A new serial novel by EleCivil --- Manufacturing plants opened up on the outskirts – little metal pockmarks against the amber waves of grain. They didn’t last. Now, there were abandoned factories and junk heaps just sitting around. Chunks of broken machines rusted into the gravel lots in front of condemned buildings. He had always been drawn to them; the abandoned machines and the ruins of a failed empire. This one was fairly close to school, and it had become his afternoon hideout. No one else knew this – they’d probably think he was weird – but the way he saw it, some people are called to the trees, some people are called to the water, and he was called to the rust. Given his childhood on the outskirts, rust seemed as natural and comforting as a cool breeze. --- “Consider it reparations for your history of repeated malfeasance. I know from your records that you’re smart enough. That’s why I’m using words like ‘malfeasance’. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that. I usually have to say things like ‘Hey, jerk - stop punching.’ This is refreshing.” --- He wasn't going to fall for this. This kind of tactic may work on middle schoolers, or hotheads, or the weak-nerved, but he was made of stronger stuff than that. This was such a transparent trick to make him implicate himself. Say nothing, and let the criminal go mad with guilt until he's ready to throw himself to the floor, pull up the boards and it's the beating of his hideous heart! But that wouldn't work on him. He wasn't a criminal. --- "Hell, if you’re going to play outlaw, you might as well go all out." --- Beginning Fall 2013
  14. This is true, of course - Boehner's a bit of a victim of circum...stance, being stuck in the middle of a GOP civil war between the establishment and the Tea Party. ...but it's so much fun to make fun of Boehner, and as a former Ohioan, I still think of him as MINE. And I know it's immature, but Anthony Weiner's been out of the news for a while, now, so there's few other options for wang-based political humor. (Perhaps if he had told everyone it was pronounced WAY-ner...)
  15. Yeah, but while he's jerking us around, stroking his ego, the rest of us are getting the shaft.
  16. Nah, there's nothing wrong about the love between a man and his dog. Unless it's a MALE dog. That'd just be unnatural.
  17. Warning: Many spoilers ahead! This might be my favorite Cole Parker story. I know, I know - "EC, how can you pick a favorite out of such a big collection of great stories?" - but bear with me. Cole Parker stories are always good, but there are certain things Cole does better than most. There are a few recurring themes and motifs that come up in Cole Parker stories that, while they are used by other authors, no one else pulls them off quite as well. DUST draws on all of these strengths. One big, recurring theme in Cole's work is the mental effects of child abuse and neglect. A lot of 'net authors (and print authors, for that matter) work with the same theme, but Cole does it deftly and deeply. While other authors may have a kid being rescued from an abusive situation, Cole will explore the lasting impact of that abuse on the kid's psyche for the majority of the story, even when it's not the central focus. Exploration of self-image and self-esteem in a natural, practical way is something that sets Cole Parker apart from other authors who use "rescued abuse victim" characters. (See: Tim, Josh Evolving, Distorted Perspectives, Duck Duck Goose, and more.) Cole Parker's stories always remind me of one of my favorite quotes from Frederick Douglass: "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." Another thing that sets Cole apart is his use of antagonists. When Cole writes an antagonist, he writes an ANTAGONIST. Not a schoolyard bully or a stuck-up teacher, but someone willing to break laws, abuse their positions of authority, ruin lives, and commit homicide. Cole is willing to give his readers whiplash (in a good way), going from "Oh, this is a happy love story" to "Holy hell, everybody's about to get shot!" within the space of one chapter and have it actually make sense and flow together. Finally, I've always loved how Cole Parker stories showcase character growth. Always explored in the case of abuse victims, but often in other characters as well. By the time you reach the end of a Cole Parker story, you feel like you've watched people struggle and fight and come out of it for the better, and that makes for a satisfying ending. So now that I've dissected the Cole Parker "oeuvre," what about DUST? DUST caught me off guard, at first. We start out in a detective novel, all pulpy and gritty and full of "dames" and "buttons" and guns and cash. And what's more, our main character and narrator is a straight, adult man - certainly not lacking in confidence, and seeming like the type to actively change things rather than passively reacting to them. Different. Then there's a hard right turn, and we start to realize that Briar Wisdom's narration is a frame. The titular character takes control of the narration, and we swing into more familiar territory for anyone who has been following Cole Parker's work. But something about this particular story really worked for me. In a lot of other Cole Parker stories, victims of abuse and neglect are rehabilitated by friends and lovers, and occasionally by foster parents. The majority of this story, however, follows a mentor/protégé relationship - Wisdom isn't a "mushy" character, and keeps insisting that he doesn't even like kids or the idea of family life, but he keeps getting pulled into it. When the narration goes back to Wisdom, the reader can see how much these events have changed him. His internal monologue has lost a lot of the pulpy detective rhythm, and his thoughts toward the other characters have softened. It's also now - after some 25 chapters - that we realize that we, as readers, know very little about Wisdom's past, and that this character who served as our narrator for the opening of the story is still pretty much a mystery. We then learn that throughout the story, Wisdom has been acting more like a father-figure than we or he realized, and that by the end, he has been changed by Dust's "training" as much as Dust has. Dust wasn't necessarily the main character of this story - he shares the spotlight with Wisdom, as the story explores the effects of both sides of a teacher/student or mentor/protégé relationship. One of the big "rules" of writing that I see all the time is "Never switch between multiple first-person viewpoints - that's what third-person is for!" And usually, I'll agree. Here, however, is an example of an author breaking a "rule" for a reason, knowing how and why to do it, and creating a better story for it. So in other words, great story, Cole! Thanks for writing it! ...Oh, hell, I wrote an essay. Props to anyone who actually read all of that.
  18. But seriously, I'm in the middle of teaching a unit about space, and the NASA website is down. Screw Boehner. Screw him and his stiff, rigid...ideology.
  19. Ohio: You may not like us, but take a look at our raging Boehner.
  20. Probably! This was a shopping list for 3-4 experiments. Here's some of them that my students have been recreating at home (I know this because of all the confused parent phone calls the next day): (Parents hate that last one.) The balloons were just for fun. Because...well, I'm an adult with a job, so if I want 110 balloons, I can get them. Ha!
  21. 8 aluminum cans. 1 candle, large. 1 lighter and/or book of matches. 1 pair heat-resistant work gloves. 1 pair fireproof tongs. 1 bowl, ceramic. 2 boxes baking soda. 1 gallon distilled vinegar. 1 bottle isopropyl alcohol (90% pure). 1 box salt. 110 balloons (large, oblong). 1 pair safety goggles. (True story.)
  22. "A statistically significant variance was discovered upon further examination of the available data. TUNE IN NEXT WEEK WHEN WE ANALYZE THE IMPLICATIONS!" ...Aw, who am I kidding? I've never finished chapters within a week of each other. Six to eight weeks, maybe.
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