There was this fault line that ran through my neighborhood. Some poor people's houses were divided by it! Talk about your foundation problems. Yes, this was in Houston, not LA! Gulf Coast Normal Texas Fault Class B. If you are wondering whether YOU live on a fault line, click on the link and you can fool around with a US Geological Survey doo-dad to your heart's content!
Anyway, this fault line. There was one street where the fault ran right under it, and there was a BIG crack and the difference in street levels across the fault was about 3 inches. One day on the way home from school my friend Chris and I started riffing on it: "Whose fault is that!?" "It's not MY fault!" "Is it YOUR fault?" Then we got the big idea to get those enormous bandaids that are 2 inches by 4 inches:
they were bigger than this!
and paste them all over the fault line. We thought we were HILARIOUS, RIOTOUS, the funniest things since time began.
Maybe we were, for the 80's. But you know, Mindy's Austin-napper was surely pretty funny, too. At least to him/herself.
How did I come upon it? Ah, the felicity of the Web!
This morning (5:30 a.m.) Ken and I were up working in the office, making invoices. He had a job that he couldn't find the contact info on - all he had was "AGS," so I went to the web for clues as to what that might be. No luck on who we striped for, but here are the first 10 Yahoo listings for those initials:
One of my defining character traits is insane optimism. I'm so optimistic, I bet it makes your teeth hurt.
Strikes me that it's a necessary quality for being in the line of work I do. I truly believe that I am helping to make the world a better place, one student at a time, by facilitiating opportunities that will help them to be better world citizens and work for peace and justice.
And maybe I just don't like to think about the bad guys much.
Our opening speaker for today's conference was Andrei Codrescu. Do you know him? If not, go read up! He's amazing - a commentator on NPR, poet, writer, literature professor, wordsmith, dreamer, thinker. He came to the US from Romania in the 60's.
I heard him speak in person one time before, at another conference for a different international education organization. It was pre-September 11, 2001. He talked about language and how the work we are doing is helping people understand each other better. It was totally inspiring.
Now, remember that these 2 conferences I've been at were meant to have been held in New Orleans - where Codrescu lives part time. (He teaches in Baton Rouge, too). He was still able to join us for the Miami conference.
Here's the thing: the optimistic & inspiring part of him is still inside there, but he is VERY VERY bitter....about the lack of response to those (esp. in New Orleans) affected by the hurricane; about the current US administration and its policies and actions worldwide...you name it. You could hardly see the optimism for the bitterness. I am glad that he was honest about that. I think he is probably incisively honest about everything. We were collecting money at the door for hurricane relief and he said, "I see you are collecting money. I don't know who you will give it to, but don't give it to the Red Cross, because they didn't do ANYTHING."
He still believes, as he said, that "young people (of different countries) can erase stereotypes through some really serious hanging out." Which we hope they do around their serious academic work and classes!!! :)
I got to shake his hand afterward. Fortunately I didn't try to express the above to him because I'm sure he would have thought I was as insane as I sound.