Today I was informed that another employee at the district had decided that they deserved/needed my job more than I do. I am being bumped out of the position I’ve held for the past 7 years or so. I think these bumping rights are a pretty vile and evil thing. I told Rosanne, our union poobah, that I hadn’t heard a single good argument in support of this right to bump, but that I could think of numerous arguments against. I’ll enumerate them tomorrow. For now, it is late and I must go to bed. Suffice to say that come July 1, I will not have a job.

Friday feeling fine

I had some very restless sleep last night. And some strange dreams. What the heck?

At some point during my morning, I got a message that someone had started following my tweets. This person’s name was @firePalinNow and his profile proudly proclaimed that he hates Fox News. I asked him why he was so proud to identify himself as a hater. It just makes me sad that people seem so ready to hate that with which they disagree. Can we not be haters please?

I got off work at 2:00 today and then went to do my 5K training. I ended up walking and jogging a total of 3.5 miles. My quadriceps feel like jelly now. I’m in that place where the dull muscle pain is producing a kind of euphoria effect. Or maybe it’s got something to do with lactic acid. All I know is that a few minutes ago when I walked over to get my mail, I was struck with a kind of LTH Syndrome and I burst out laughing at nothing! Sheesh! Tomorrow I rest and Sunday I do it again. Hilarious.

Tonight I will be playing LOTRO and watching TV and I suspect, going to bed early. Maybe my fatigue will help me sleep more soundly.

A particularly incendiary topic :(

Yesterday, there were two events occurring on the quad in front of the Student Center. One was a Geology Club fundraiser, the other was a graphic anti-abortion demonstration. You know, the one where they display six foot posters of aborted fetuses.

The college received two emails regarding the fundraiser. The first was sent on Sunday afternoon. It reads as follows:

The weather is finally clearing! While enjoying the sunshine and greenery, enjoy a Geology Club Bronto-Burger on the quad of East Campus on Monday, March 28. We’ll start serving around 10 AM and serve until we run out (usually about 1:30).
Have a Bronto-Burger For Lunch!
The Geology Club using the proceeds to support students wishing to attend geology field studies at Modesto Junior College.
Thank you for your help!


The second email was sent on Monday at 4:45 PM, after the event(s).

On behalf of the Geology Club here at MJC, I want to thank everyone who came out and supported our program by buying a brontoburger. We deep appreciate your support.
We also want to apologize. Because of an e-mail snafu, we did not know that there would be a graphic anti-abortion demonstration on campus today (we thought it would be in April). Had we known, we would not have done our fundraiser at the same time. As it was, we had already purchased all the fresh food materials and arrived on campus to find them setting up. Although we know there are political and moral questions and controversy over abortion and choice, we found their demonstration disturbing and offensive, right down to the parents parading their four-and five-year-old children in front of the graphic posters. We had no association with these people and are sorry to have been anywhere near them.

Thank you once again for your understanding and support.

Geology Club Advisor


Ok. I have a couple of reactions. First, I’m perplexed that the advisor thinks that ANYONE could have gotten the idea that the two events were somehow related. It’s a good thing he makes it clear that the Geology Club had no association with “these people”. Glad that got cleared up!

Second, I’m always surprised, vexed, and saddened that people take more offense at depictions of the act than at the act itself. Truly, I find the photos to be very offensive. I would prefer that they did not exist at all! That they can exist is the problem. This is not the first time that I’ve witnessed someone get very upset that people dare to show pictures of what happens 4000 times each day in the United States.

I’m not the first, nor the last, to wade into the abortion debate. I’m sure that most people are firmly in one camp or the other. Whether you, dear reader, are for or against abortion, I would ask one simple thing. Please acknowledge that for those of us who believe that life begins at conception, abortion is indistinguishable from murder. I’m not saying that you or anyone else believes that life begins at conception. I’m saying that I believe that.

Maybe we can agree on one more thing… Don’t we all want to reduce and prevent unwanted pregnancies? Let’s pray/act to see that desire become a reality.

Going through the motions

Like many (most) people, I find that once I find an avenue for my pontification, the need to get it out on subsequent occasions is much diminished. My intention with this post was to write about my thoughts and impressions from the Board of Trustees meeting last night. But I’ve already had my rant about it, both last night and this morning, on Ustream. Nevertheless, I shall try to put it all down here so as to provide a more complete record of what has transpired to bring about The Sundering of MJC. (I’m trying out some epic sounding titles for what’s happening around here. Let me know what sounds best.)

The district’s Board of Trustees met last night in the MJC Auditorium. They agreed last week to move this meeting from Columbia College to MJC to accommodate the hoards that wanted the opportunity to appear in person to plead their cases about which program (in most cases, their own) should be spared from the cuts. All week, emails have been flying and plans have been forming about how to best defend each group’s area of interest. Security was on hand along with police to make sure that the situation didn’t get too out of hand and news crews from Sacramento were present to capture the drama. By 5:30, the room was full of a mixture of staff, faculty, students, and community members.

Board of Trustees Political Theatre 1103.09 - 35

I hadn’t planned to attend this meeting. I had no particular cause to advance and didn’t imagine that my presence would count for anything. Also, I suspected that the meeting would be long and frustrating. But my friend Yolanda contacted me the day before and suggested that I attend and that we could go for coffee or a drink afterwards. Ok, I had nothing much else to do so I agreed to meet up with her. Well, spoiler alert! I wasn’t able to find her before the proceedings commenced. I did see her a bit later, but she was seated and I was more than ready to go. Anyway, back to the meeting.


At 5:30, things were called to order and after some preliminary business, people with a comment for the Board were invited to line up on either side of the room to take turns addressing the Trustees. A three-minute time limit per person was established and the speakers began. The second person to speak was my buddy Rob, an Art instructor.

Board of Trustees Political Theatre 1103.09 - 36

The fourth person to speak was a woman who brought her two children to the microphone with her. She introduced herself and had her son do the same. Of course, being a little boy of 3 meant that he took about 30 seconds (of the 3 minutes allowed) to say who he was. The mother spoke passionately about the Wawona Child Development Center. When she was told by Board chairperson that her time was up, the woman shot back that she was entitled to twice as much time because both she and her son were students. Never mind that everyone had been told that transferring of time was not allowed. Never mind that there was a process by which speakers alternated microphones. No, this woman was entitled! Well, the chairperson cut her off apologizing that more time couldn’t be given, but that there were many, many people who were waiting their turn to speak. The woman needed to get in one final dig. She asked her son if he had anything further to say as this mean, mean woman was taking away his right to speak. Lord, help us. This was all that I needed to see how the night was going to go.

Board of Trustees Political Theatre 1103.09 - 38

I stuck around through two more speakers before heading home.

Fast forward, 3 hours later. I saw a posting on facebook from my buddy, James; something to the effect that he was witnessing the dismantling of MJC. This sounded very intriguing and I was surprised that the meeting was still going! I quickly moved to tune into the web broadcast. I connected and saw a man in a military (Army?) uniform yelling and screaming, shouting profanities at the Board. My first reaction was that I was about to witness a riot. The chairperson told him his time was up and he shouted back that HE would decide when his time was up! Other young men, apparently looking for trouble, had joined him up front and when security came up to escort the soldier off, these other guys interposed themselves. Police soon joined them and the man and his guards were escorted away. Personally, I feel that, by his behavior, this guy dishonored the uniform he wore. He was obnoxious and rude. All of my coworkers (that I’ve spoken to) agree that he made it very hard, if not impossible, to take him seriously. However, some of the people I know through facebook consider this guy a hero! Incroyable! People are celebrating bad behavior. Very sad. Anyway, watching this for two minutes was all I could take; I switched off.

Board of Trustees Political Theatre 1103.09 - 40

Ultimately, after everyone said all that they wanted to say (4½ hours!), the Board voted. They were unanimous in support of the proposal put forth by President. They took turns reading prepared statements defending their votes. Prepared statements?? If they knew which way they’d vote, why go through the pretense of listening to all the people who’d come to speak? I wish that they could have conveyed the impression that all this testimony counted for something! As it is, it appears not. 🙁

From the Yiddish

I am a total schmuck. I realize this will come as no big surprise to most of you, but I feel that I should acknowledge the fact from time to time, if only to keep it real. An elderly gentleman from church, a member of the Knights, passed away last week. I learned of his passing on Tuesday and sent out an email to the other Knights informing them. I also told them that I would let them know as I became aware of more details. The funeral was today at 1:00.

  • Schmuck exhibit 1 – Despite learning of the date and time of the funeral on Thursday, I neglected to pass that information along until I was asked about it this morning. Ugh. Only slightly mitigating this neglect was the fact that we did announce the arrangements at the Council meeting on Thursday night. I still should have sent a follow-up email.
  • Schmuck exhibit 2 – I received a phone call on Saturday from a number I didn’t recognize. I didn’t answer it and it usually takes me a long time to listen to messages. So today, at about 1:30 I listened to 4 or 5 messages that had accumulated on my phone. The one from Saturday was from the widow of the man who’d passed away. She was calling to ask if I’d participate in the funeral service.

Man I suck.

Roberto Benigni was wrong

I am now convinced that I shouldn’t watch any more foreign films.
Yep, I’m embracing my American-ness. Foreign films are just too…. foreign.

Watched Biutiful tonight.

Cancer. Sucks.
Mental illness. Sucks.
The human condition. Sucks.
Life. Sucks.

Javier Bardem did a good job. But it’s just so hard to relate to such a foreign story. By the end of the movie, I was actually feeling sick to my stomach, this movie was so depressing.

If there’s one thing I can take from the movie, it is this: Suck it up, Sean. Your life could be SO. MUCH. WORSE!


So, sorry to be the sterotypical Ugly American. Sorry I’m not one of the cultural elite who probably LOVE this movie. Sorry that, after seeing this movie and a few others lately, I’m desperate for a ‘feel good’ movie.


28/56. The Challenge begins to take it’s toll.

Yeah, when I get where I’m goin’, don’t cry for me down here.

My uncle passed away this morning. He had been ill for some time but as recently as one month ago, there was hope that he might soon be well enough to be eligible for a lung transplant. Sadly, over the last two weeks, he deteriorated rapidly. And then this morning, surrounded by those he loved most, he slipped away.

I don’t get too bugged by death. I’ll miss my uncle; he was one of my favorite relatives. I feel bad for my aunt and my cousins; his absence will be felt so much more acutely in their lives. But death, to me, is just part of life. It happens to all of us at one point or another. I believe in heaven and I hope and pray that my loved ones will be there should I squeek through. But no matter what exactly waits for us after we die, our earthly worries are over. No, I don’t feel bad for the deceased. I feel bad for the living.

Goodbye uncle Doug. You were a heck of a good guy. I will miss you.

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