Monday, March 24, 2008

Was it clearly articulated?

The scene: 8th grade Spanish class
The assignment: write 1 paragraph in Spanish about your favorite restaurant
The crime: using an online translator
The defense: he didn't think it was cheating

School policy states that cheating is a zero for the assignment plus a Saturday detention. Graciously, he was allowed to redo the assignment for half credit.

His parents failed to see the severity of the situation. When they were informed of their son's behavior, they informed the principal that they weren't sure using a translator to write a Spanish paper was cheating.

And they asked if it had been clearly articulated that the students were not allowed to do so.

Excuse me?

Was it WHAT?

Does it have to be "clearly articulated" to a student writing a paper for English class not to find another essay online, copy it, & put his/her name on it & turn it in?

Does it have to be "clearly articulated" not to look at your neighbor's paper during an exam?

Does it really have to be "clearly articulated" not to lie, cheat, & steal?

Apparently, it does.

These are the same people that make it necessary for a cup of coffee to have a warning lable reading "hot." The same people inspire tags on diaper bags instructing hapless parents not to "place baby inside bag." Or a tag telling us never to use a hair dryer in the shower or while sleeping. How about the warning on a Batman costume that the shield is not protective & the cape does not enable the wearer to fly.

If people can't figure out the obvious things like a can of peanuts may contain peanuts or peanut oil, or that if (after taking a certain medication advertized on TV) they experience an erection lasting longer than 4 hours they should call the doctor, perhaps we do have to clearly articulate that using a translation service is actually cheating.

Perhaps I'm just smarter than the average bear, but I know -- even without it being clearly articulated -- that I should not eat the insides of a bean bag.

In case you didn't know, they aren't actual beans in there.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Good, the Bad, & the Guilty

So, B & I love doing murder mystery parties.

Maybe it's the little girl inside me who still jumps at every opportunity to play "dress-up." Halloween, parties, school festivals, plays -- anything that requires a costume & I'm all over it. I've got a couple of trunks full of costumes in our crawl space. And I believe there's still one hanging out at my parents' house. If you need clowns, shakespeare, civil war, cave girl, I've either got it, or I'll get it.

Maybe it's the sick pleasure I get out of pretending to be someone else for a while or bring out the bawdy side of my sense of humor that isn't allowed around the middle schoolers I teach.

Maybe it's the fact that it's a party with people who may or may not know each other well & it takes some of the pressure off of conversation -- be it for joke making or for serious stuff.

Whatever it is, it's a blast if you get a group of people together who are willing to be ridiculous & get into a character.

Anyway, I've been doing murder mystery parties sporadically since around college, when some buddies would convert their house into a crime scene, actors would know their role in the murder, and the rest of us would act as investigators. We were cheap enough that we actually wrote our own at one point (and, if I do say so myself, it was pretty darn good).

After graduation, Christy & I decided to host one of our own, combining her high school friends & mine for an evening of gangster-themed murder. We shared the part of a flapper & turned her into "twins" so that we could invite everyone we wanted to. Our only problem was that we had one too many guys & were short one girl. We looked at the descriptions & decided that Ben could play "Scoop" the female reporter who seemed no-nonsense. Harmless enough & seemingly gender neutral, right? That was, until the game got rolling & we figured out just how "Scoop" got the inside scoop on all the action around town. The romantic twists & turns made THAT interesting.

It's amazing how 9 years can change people!

My next adventure in murder didn't take place until 2002. the 20s & 30s group from our church in Barcelona hosted this shin-dig -- which Brian flat-out refused to go to, saying that it wasn't his "thing" and that he wouldn't have any fun at all. Matt, his brother, being much more social & adventurous, was persuaded to go & play the part of Marco Roni in this meeting of Italian-Americans with ties to the mob.

Although, as you can imagine from this picture, he was embarrassed to walk down the street with "Tara Misu," shared by me & Ang. Don't we look great in leopard print?

One poor guy had just joined the church and it was his first time hanging out with all of us. He made such an impression on us as Beau Jolais that no one could even remember his real name for several months!

Just about 6 months later, the 20s & 30s group from church decided to do yet another murder mystery party. This time, it was set in the 1940s & I was the Russian Countess Bogoff -- a name much less offensive in American English than in British English, but I'm sure you get the point.

After much begging, a skeptical Brian agreed to go and admitted that he "had a blast" and it was "much more fun" than he had anticipated. He especially loved to opportunity he had thruogh his character to use a fake English accent all evening long!

Our latest adventure has been 3 years in the making. We got the kit when we moved out here -- wild west themed seemed appropriate for Denver -- and had planned on using it as a kind of house-warming party. We knew 3 other couples in this area before we joined the world west of the Mississippi & that was perfect. Unfortunately, the DAY BEFORE the party, one couple (who shall remain anonymous so that I don't begin any sort of rant) cancelled. Now, for those of you who can think about this, if 1/4 of the suspects aren't showing up, the party isn't going to work. So, it got put on hold.

Then we were going to have it with a group of friends from church, but before we ever got it on the calendar, 2 couples moved out of state. Hmmmm...this party seemed doomed.

We still wanted to do it, so we picked a date over a month out & sent out emails making sure it was going to work for our invitees. A few changes got made, & a date was settled on that was acceptable to all of us.

Until Monday.

When I received an email letting me know that one couple "just realized" that they had plans already for Good Friday. Sounds a bit fishy, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. It was a mad scramble to find another couple who could participate on such late notice, but Mike & Mindy were sports, even finding costumes & not minding that they were the only couple who was not from our old church...and not complaining when the party ran late & their poor boys were not at home in their own beds...

Preston & Paty were "Pelvis Swaggerin" & "Butch Chastity"
Mike & Mindy were "Elias Truist-Heath" & "Helena Handcart"
B & I were "Chief Breaking Wind" & "Dee Adela Muerte"
You'll have to ask Josh "Wyatt Hertz,"
or maybe Kelly, since she was "Elvira-Lynn Fekshun"

Friday, March 14, 2008


Whether we are talking about the weather here in Denver lately or my boys' sleep patterns, it seems like it's all about teasers. And no matter which way I look at it, one fact still remains.

I don't like to be teased.

It seems like every time we have a beautiful spring-like day full of sunshine and warm breezes it is followed up by some of the nastiest, wettest wintery slop I have ever seen. "What a wonderful surprise of a day!" I've heard some folks exclaim when thinking back to the sandals they were wearing just days before. Maybe I'm more of a half-empty kind of person than I thought I was, but it doesn't seem nice at all to me.

It's just downright mean.

I get to thinking about clothes I haven't worn in several months, getting my toes done -- perhaps even barbecues or swimming pools. And then comes the bitter cold and snow. Ick. I think I would rather have just straight winter weather. None of these previews, these teaser kind of days that get my hopes up and then slam them back down again.

I tried to tell that to the boys, too. But they don't seem to want to listen to reason.

Two weeks ago, they slept for a six-hour stretch. They did the same thing the next night, and the night after that, and the night after that, and so on until nearly a week had gone by.

But they were only teasing.

Suddenly one day at 3 a.m. they both awoke screaming in absolute starvation and sucked down an entire bottle. They've been doing the same ever since.

You know, I was perfectly content with our every-three-hour routine until it changed. Now I seem to have no patience for the return of the middle-of-the-night bottle. I find myself growling at two sweet and hungry little babies about why they just can't sleep like they were doing and wondering why they feel the need to torture me so.

As if they can think rationally.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Things that make you go hmmm...

You look tired.

Now that's just about the most ridiculous thing to ever say to a woman.

If she's out and about and does happen to be tired, there's a 99.9% chance she did her best to NOT look all that wiped out before she walked out the door. Brushed her hair. Got out of those flannel pants. Maybe even put on a little makeup to try to brighten her tired eyes.

Why in the world would she want to hear that all her efforts were in vain?

And what about that possibility that she isn't really tired? Why then you've just told her how bad she looks when she probably thought she might be looking pretty good that day. Fabulous.

Why, then, is it acceptable to make that statement (sometimes qualified by a question like, "the boys been keeping you up?" or "are you getting enough sleep these days?")? It seems a bit odd to me.

We would never dream of saying to someone, "You're looking a bit chubby today. You must be eating well these days."

I just don't get it.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...