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10:30 p.m. - January 17, 2006
Tuesday evening, Houston sucks, and I'm unhappy I can't as well
Prior to dinner tonight I had not become enamored with Houston and its (freethink, freethink) shellac. Yes, that is a good word. No rich stain to highlight the grain, but a nasty, thick, lumpy shellac that can be scraped off using the thumbnail. There is no polish here, no bona fide nugget of originality or rebelliousness or anything remotely interesting. And the teachers! Now that Madrigle has moved on I can now castigate Houston teachers: I loathe them. One teacher asked today, Honestly, since there isn't a TEKS for French, why bother? Everybody speaks substandard Spanish anyways. [Note: TEKS are Texas' state standards for K-12 instruction, with testing designed to gauge achievement.] I was dismayed and wanted to ask, "Given your attitude toward the language you teach, how can you hope or expect students to a) have any respect or enthusiasm for French or b) have any respect or enthusiasm for you? But I really hit it off well when I mentioned my support for Houston's latest educational tweak: Tie teacher's pay to student performance. The commercialization of education, while utterly pathetic in its censure of us as a nation of non-scholars, does yield results if one considers charter education to be commercial (which it is, simply put). Rather than calling them teachers, call them project managers and judge them on the basis of the project's results, and cut a paycheck or cut a poorly-performing manager, simple.

Quit whining is all I've wanted to say all morning, during my lunch break (which was so interrupted by questions and comments by well-wishers, ne'erdowells, and those inbetween, that the hotel staff took away my salad because I didn't have a chance to eat it), all afternoon, and all evening.

I digress.

Houston was going to be a complete wash except the unexpected happened. I'm having dinner with several other teachers, a fun coterie but for one, and I mention I have this thing for cowboy hats which sparks a discussion of Texan culture (yes, I agree - daunting, but it can be done with enough margaritas and tequila shots), when a cowboy hat I'd swim in lube for as prep for a royal fucking walked through the door. Classic, heart-pounding, hot cowboy hat. Angelique nudges me, says Like that kind of hat? and I nod, worried the neon sign with its arrow is blinking :: Gay :: Gay :: Gay :: over my head. Angelique smiles, gets up, and spends some time with the cowboy hat. One (good) kiss later, the cowboy hat is in her hands. I wish I were that adept.

I didn't have to kiss Angelique to gain possession of the hat. She just said welcome to Texas!

(And this cowboy hat just smells like a man. It's intoxicating. I just sniffed it again.) If I sniffed underwear I'd probably be less alarmed.


On Friday I head to Dallas where I'm meeting Joel in person. Essentially I invited myself over for the weekend - audacious, more than a slight twinge of foreboding, prepared for the recurring detritus that occurs when my hopes and reality collide.

But like I said, if it's miserable, I'll just head home. Simple!

I am in a strange mood tonight; it's one part loneliness, one part I-had-fun-at-dinner, two parts dread: Dread tomorrow's training, and dread going to Dallas.

Another sniff. Methinks I must sleep with the cowboy hat tonight.


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