Archive for April, 2005

Forgotten items

I always forget something. Some days, I forget a textbook. Sometimes, I forget to ventilate the apartment (which is critical in an apartment that can get as hot as 32C). Sometimes, I forget the Netflix movies to be sent out in the mail. Usually, I remember what I’ve forgotten before I’ve gone far, but I still have to run back to the apartment.

Today, I forgot my videotape. As a first-time TA, I have to videorecord myself to learn from watching myself from a 3rd-person viewpoint. The first time I recorded, I didn’t realize I would have to turn it in, so I ended up with a tape that I don’t think I’d be proud to show to anyone. I tried to record again last time, but no students showed up! This week, I’ll try again, but first I have to go back down and up the hill to fetch the videotape, becuase I didn’t remember until I had already arrived on campus. Eh.

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What do you want? CONTRACT! When do you want it? NOW!

Today, I was involved in a protest! A very socialistic sort of protest, in fact. This morning, I showed my solidarity with my fellow workers.

The Service Workers’ Union on campus has been having trouble getting a good contract. The university doesn’t want to pay them enough, so they finally had a 1-day strike. I’m not in that union, but I am in the teaching assistants’ union, so I went and picketed with them.

At first it was surprisingly fun. I was finally doing something. My uncle is a unionized construction worker, and I know that he has picketed in the past. Well, I finally had my chance to contribute, too.

I walked around in a circle with the others, holding a sign and trying to draw attention. It sounds easy, right? You’re just walking around, chanting. Well, it turns out that it’s hard work. Walking in a circle for 2 hours while yelling pretty much constantly is tough. Especially when you, like I, are foolish enough to bring your backpack. My shoulders were sore, and I got pretty close to losing my voice, though I didn’t quite. (I think I’ve lost my voice maybe once before, if that, so I thought my voice was invulnerable.)

So, then I was tired all day. That’s also because I had to get up early for this, so I “only” got 7 hours of sleep. (That may be good for some people, but I’m used to 8.)

I was pleasantly surprised by the presence of news teams. There were NBC and ABC representatives there, though I didn’t see them doing much. The word is getting out! Some official, I think the chancellor, showed up to make a statement. Apparently they’re negotiating a new contract on Monday, so there is a reasonable chance of success.

I was also surprised by how nice it was to hear cars honk in support as they went by. All the busses honked (since I think the drivers are unionized, too). I had never realized that was a good thing to do; now I’ll be a more educated driver. It always raised people’s spirits.

The surprising but disappointing thing was that my fellow Comp. Sci. grad students don’t seem to be very much in support of the union. I don’t know if it’s because they don’t see its good effects, or what. I feel confident that we would be getting paid noticeably less if we didn’t have that supporting us. I mean, we TAs get dental insurance! Nobody’s going to give us that if they don’t have to.

In the end, I should have brought the camera. There were other TAs (not CS TAs, unfortunately) there who would have taken my picture. Still, maybe I’ll find a news shot of myself somewhere 🙂 In the end, not having the camera makes me feel more like a contributor, rather than some privileged college student who’s just picketing for kicks.

However, in the spirit of the privileged kid, I must say I was excited when I got to hold the megaphone! I was one of the louder people there (but the rest of them were going to be there all day, so they didn’t want to become hoarse). So, when the woman who had one of the two megaphones had to get a drink (from becoming hoarse, of course), I got to help lead the chants. But, in the end, I wasn’t terribly good, and I was happy to give it to someone who seemed to have more of a plan.

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How to eat right

Kate and I have been trying to eat healthily, get exercize, and so on. Fortunately, when reading a comic over lunch, I discovered how to be healthy!

Ahh. I’m not sure why I find that so funny, but I do love George’s reaction to real fruit.

(Kate and I actually get plenty of real fruit. It’s good to live in California.)

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Protected: An open letter that I wish I’d written to Feldman

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