Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Fudge Report


Because a great country (does) deserve the truth.
And you guys need to know about this stuff...even if I don't blog about it.
It still sucks.

I've got a life

I've got a way
It's the only thing that's mine

Guess what I found?

Silent. No More.

This letter was authored by one Gibbs Farmington VisComm student in an effort to express the extreme frustration of a large percentage of the day cohort VisComm group. The fact that it was circulated and signed by some 38 students out of approximately 70 in the program (and that's of the students who KNEW about the petition and had the OPPORTUNITY to actually READ IT and SIGN IT if they chose to do so!) is testament to the glaring inadequacies with the school, a great deal of the administration, and a large percentage of the faculty (upwards of 90%).

What really kills me is that while there are a number of very talented students there, they make up the group of "footballers" or those who would take the ball, any ball, and run with it, no matter where they were. They bloom where they are planted, and they'd probably be the anomalies who really could be the Steve Jobs and Shawn Fannings of reading ADOBE'S CLASSROOM IN A BOOK series.

And since the letter was so well written, I was actually accused of writing it. After all, no Gibbs' student could possibly write that well...right?

Kudos to M. for the best fucking letter I've seen...outside my own fingertips.

This was the tipping point, although the handwriting was already on the wall. After repeatedly being told "they are your customers first, not your students" I recognized very quickly something was extremely sick with the organization.

If it were a hospital? People'd be dying left and right, on the tables, no less!

Bad doctors. Bad teachers.
Death. And. Well, you tell me...

You ROCK, Career Education Corporation!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Tel Aviv, The UK, Mexico City...

Please. Don't forget.
What about our boys?
AND girls.

This is what I'm TAWKING about...

yesterday's email...
name removed, for privacy.
that's all.

Hello (my name),
Its me (her name). I'm hoping your doing ok. First of all, I want to express how sorry I am to see you leave us. I understand you have your reasons, and knowing how Gibbs is, I'm sure they are good ones too. My only regret is not taking classes with you sooner. Stupid on my part! In the beginning, truthfully, all I cared about was getting that degree. It is only now, that I am realizing how serious I am about this specific profession. Obviously I have the love for what I'm in school for, but it was your skills and "realness" that have me, and I am sure other students as well, reaching further for that golden trophy. Success. Your not afraid to tell us if our work belongs in the garbage! LoL I loved that! Its your criticisms that get "your students" to where they/we need to be. You have a connection with us that no other teacher can ever touch. That's so cool! I thank you for that (my name). From the bottom of my heart.
Always take care of yourself. Your students are always here for you. I know I am.

My personal note:

this gal is single-handedly raising a kid while her husband and two brothers are defending our country in Iraq. And she's going to be here for me?

What's up with that?

Update on the Corporate Profile!

Here's the update to my corporate profile, which is on the corporate website, currently. I thought I would check to see if I'd been "pulled" yet (well, they've spent two years YANKING me) and I'm still I thought it only fair to UPDATE my profile. After all, in this digital age, there's nothing that steams me more than INACCURATE information, especially when it takes seconds to update.

So, here's the update.

Enjoy. Sorry I removed my name.
I'm "trying" to remain somewhat anonymous.

I TOLD YOU SO! November 2005, SLATE

SLATE Magazine
November 2005

You want the inside story from me about falsifying attendance? Falsifying internship records? Passing students with a C- because it won't transfer to another college instead of failing them with an F because we "just gotta get 'em outta here and keep up the numbers." Being forced to work off-the-clock or "you won't get classes" or being scheduled for three four-hour classes back-to-back-to-back...and ending up the hospital as soon as the term ended because sheer physical exhaustion brought out a decades-dormant case of hepatitis due to bad blood from surgery in the 80s? And when bringing said schedule to the attention of one's supervisor being told "if you can't hack it, I can always get someone else. Be glad you have these classes. Some people don't have as many..." Looking for help from the admin and being told "Farmington is (insert the devil's name) and you know how I feel about Farmington, so why don't you just be a big boy and deal with it yourself" (thanks Deer Dick!) and when going to the dick farmer to discuss the campus disconnect being told that "perhaps you'd like to explore other employment opportunities..."

I've fucking HAD IT! You need a school nurse, you need a school counselor, you need a Director of HR, you need to get rid of this "used car salesmen" mentality (yes, I'm fucking talking about you and your fucking "I'm talking about a buy-in here people!)

and you need to fucking respect the fucking instructors with INTEGRITY who are putting their students first, and not continuing their own education which gets in the way of their teaching, and running their business from the classroom, and not taking cell-phone calls in the classroom, and not reading magazines while students TEACH THEMSELVES ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS CLASSROOM IN A BOOK and can we PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get fucking InDesign in the fucking school some TWO FUCKING YEARS LATER and what the fuck is with LightWave for a VisComm student who's going into print or web when they have ZERO exposure to InDesign SOME TWO YEARS LATER??? Did we REALLY need the upgrade to Macromedia Studio 8 rather than Adobe CS2 with InDesign??? And the teachers who change their lessons to reflect the trends and the news and the latest and don't keep a notebook with the same fucking lessons they've given ten terms ago teaching from the same fucking books with ©199???? and teachers who are not afraid to risk something new, and aren't afraid to break the box, reinvent the box, to say "who said it was a box?" To de-construct the box, re-draw the box, turn it inside out, and re-construct the box, to find out that it was a pyramid in the first place.

Teachers who beg to teach 3D Package Design...even though they've never taught it before...BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY CAN.

Yeah. Proprietary colleges?
Proprietary information.
That's what's in my head.
And it's what I gave my kids...every fucking day.

Who's zooming who?

Teacher, I. Need. You.

The Profit Chase
For-profit colleges have lots of champions—and lots of problems.
By Anya Kamenetz
Posted Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2005, at 3:18 PM ET

You've seen this ad before, on the subway or at a bus shelter: An attractive young ethnic type beams in three-quarter profile, against a background of blue sky and clouds, looking off at … his future. At the bottom appears an aspirational word like Apex or Phoenix or Capella. Despite appearances, the product is not a psychopharmaceutical; it's one of the nation's 2,000-odd for-profit colleges.

So-called proprietary schools, which rely on tuition to both cover their operating costs and turn a profit, enroll about 1.6 million of the 20 million students at all accredited colleges nationwide; they run 28 percent of all two-year colleges. Their enrollment is growing four times faster than the sector as a whole, about 8 percent a year. The largest is the Apollo Group, which operates the well-known University of Phoenix and three other colleges. In all, Apollo has 176 locations, plus many online programs, with a total enrollment of 307,400 students in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada, up there with the largest state university systems.

Conservatives have hailed the robust for-profit college phenomenon as a welcome infusion of free-market forces into an otherwise bloated higher-education sector. The top official at the Department of Education making decisions about higher education, Bush appointee Sally Stroup, was previously a lobbyist for the Apollo Group. A vigorous champion of proprietary schools, Richard Vedder of AEI was recently named to a blue-ribbon Department of Education commission on the future of higher education that aims to tackle, among other things, the issue of soaring costs. Proprietary schools, among the largest donors to higher-education committee members, not surprisingly also have many loyal Republican supporters in Congress.

But before we herald these institutions as the smarter, leaner future of higher education, it is worth scrutinizing their practices and their shady past. There is no question that they are adept at turning a profit. Yet commercial colleges' long history of ethical lapses and the highly uneven quality of their offerings make them a poor model for a higher-education field in crisis.

American "career colleges" date back to the 1850s, when H.B. Stratton and P.R. Bryant founded a chain of 50 schools starting in Buffalo, N.Y., to teach shorthand, bookkeeping, and the use of the newfangled mechanical typewriter primarily to women, who were not welcome at most traditional colleges. They occupied cheap rental space in downtown office buildings rather than spending money on leafy campuses. The industry also grew through correspondence courses, which acquired a checkered reputation over the years. For every reputable accounting program, there were hucksters like the bogus art schools that took out the famous "can you draw this?" matchbook ads.

As the liberal arts curriculum evolved (or devolved) from the classics, to the humanities, to today's critical-thinking courses and ethnic-studies departments, the need for vocational education remained, and commercial institutions were there to fill it. They attracted underserved students, especially low-income and working adults, by offering accelerated courses with flexible schedules and focusing their pitch on job placement. These schools commonly report placement rates of a credulity-straining 80 percent or 90 percent, no matter what the program; the Department of Education does not track or verify these numbers. Tuition is set far above the rates charged by public community colleges, for-profits' main competitors, yet below those at private nonprofits.

Today, according to the biggest for-profit lobbying group, these schools graduate about half of the "technically trained workers"—a fuzzy category—in the United States. Proprietary schools are the likeliest place to turn if you're interested in becoming a Microsoft Certified ™ Systems Administrator, or a clerk processing the paperwork for an HMO. Many of these colleges do offer bona fide degrees, including advanced degrees, in established subjects like business or computer science. But the volume business is in non-degree programs, which are shorter and cheaper to produce; they can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars yet terminate in a certificate of dubious value. Some of the offerings are pure wish fulfillment, like video-game design, film directing, or fashion merchandising; others are so limited they barely deserve to be called postsecondary. At the University of Phoenix, for example, you can earn a master of arts in education or an MBA with a specialty in e-commerce. At the other end of the spectrum, an outfit called Allied Schools offers a home-study course in "medical report writing" that involves "basic keyboarding skills, with an emphasis on medical terminology." There is no US News & World Report ranking or other objective measure to guide prospective students, who must make do with marketing claims.

Proprietary schools have been eligible for federal student aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act since 1972. Taxpayer money, $4.3 billion in 2004, in the form of guaranteed student loans and Pell Grants, remains the primary source of revenue for these schools. This makes it emphatically the public's business how good a job they're doing. Unfortunately, the enticement of unlimited federal cash led proprietary schools into their darkest era in the 1980s. With little federal oversight, unscrupulous recruiters haunted welfare offices to sign up unqualified and even homeless students, collected their aid money, and offered useless courses in return. Student loan defaults peaked in 1992 at 22 percent, and proprietary schools accounted for nearly half of all defaulters, although they were the source of just a fifth of all loans. Angry student advocates nearly succeeded in casting these schools out of the federal aid program altogether. Instead, 1,500 of the nation's then 4,000 trade schools were disaccredited, and the 1992 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act added complicated funding rules to try to control fraud.

Since the mid-1990s, the industry has spruced up its public image. After a round of buy-ups and mergers, publicly traded companies now enroll nearly half of for-profit students. These companies are Wall Street darlings—the highest-earning stocks of any industry between 2000 and 2003. But the very characteristic that makes them so attractive to investors, the ability to enroll ever-increasing numbers of students, has been the continuing source of trouble. A rash of investigations and complaints has called into question both these schools' business practices and their educational results.

A Department of Education inspector testified in May 2005 that during the previous six years, 74 percent of the agency's institutional-fraud cases have involved proprietary schools. In the last few years, the SEC has probed or investigated three of the 10 biggest higher-education companies, ITT, Career Education Corporation, and Corinthian Colleges, for discrepancies in their financial reporting. In September 2004, the University of Phoenix received the largest fine ever levied by the Department of Education, $9.8 million, for linking enrollment to recruiters' financial incentives, a violation of agency rules. In January of 2005, 60 Minutes aired an exposé on the Career Education Corporation, which has been sued by students who borrowed up to $80,000 for courses and were stuck working in retail. Frustrated students are increasingly turning to class-action lawsuits to make good on what they say are the colleges' false claims about job placement; such suits have been filed against Corinthian and ITT, among others.

All this bad publicity has hurt stock prices for the companies involved, but it hasn't diminished the industry's political capital. In the last year, Congress has moved toward relaxing all the restrictions of the '92 crackdown. Most important, the version of the Higher Education Act currently before the House would include proprietary schools in a single definition of "an institution of higher education." Right now, they are eligible for student aid but not other kinds of subsidies available to nonprofit colleges; the change would potentially allow them to compete for millions more in infrastructure and program-related grants.

Conservatives like Vedder embrace for-profit colleges precisely because they are businesses. They see them as more focused on cutting costs and raising productivity than state-supported universities, with their tenured professors and their money-losing philosophy departments. They have a point there. The cost of public higher education has been rising steeply for decades. Colleges are a common budget-balancer for states facing fiscal crises; institutions in turn raise tuition, with much of the bill ultimately going back to the federal government in the form of student aid. The prevailing sentiment in Washington is that it's time to turn off the spigot and force colleges to control their spending. The current budget-reconciliation bill, in fact, includes the largest cuts to student aid in the 40-year history of the program.

It's true that proprietary institutions have taken the lead in money-saving innovations like accelerated courses, distance learning, and the deprofessionalization of teaching (hiring only instructors); nonprofit schools, for better and for worse, are already following these examples. Yet pointing to proprietary schools as models of probity is wishful thinking. Experts like Vedder, praising the "highly profitable" for-profit schools, willfully ignore the reality that the big higher-education companies were built to suck up federal handouts, which provide the majority of their income; these schools grab a share of federal aid higher than their share of enrollment, while public community colleges receive less than their share. Even worse, the prevalence of fraud, waste, and abuse in these schools from their origins down to the present day is a clear signal that turning a profit, not serving students, is their top priority. When students equal revenue, the pressure is on to pack them in and charge them as much as the market will bear. When colleges have shareholders, decisions are going to be made with short-term profitability in mind, and the shiny images in those subway ads will displace honest assessments of performance. Or as a University of Phoenix enrollment director told recruiters, as quoted in a 2003 Department of Education report, "It's all about the numbers. It will always be about the numbers. But we need to show the Department of Education what they want to see."

Anya Kamenetz is a freelance writer and a columnist for the Village Voice. Her first book, Generation Debt: Why Now Is a Terrible Time To Be Young, will be published in February 2006.

Article URL:
Copyright 2006 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC

To all my students: past, present, future: AMAZING!

Folks, it's always been like walking a tightrope when navigating the corporate and administrative waters and entering the classroom. You guys have always motivated me to go beyond my best, even when tallying off the number of times I use my favorite four-letter F-word (FREE!, like this blog!) Starting with the Miami International Arts College (yep, another finishing school!), then on to the AIFL (say it again! "for-profit!"), then Broward Community College|South Campus, then on to good 'ol Gibbs-fuckin' College Norwalk, then "our brand new Farmington campus, now offering programs in Visual Communications and the exciting field of Fashion Design and Marketing (think you'll get a job at the Gap or A&F as a manager??), well, just like Madonna's REINVENTION tour (sorry, didn't get to that one M. It took a CONFESSION to make me fork over some $$ for me and the Warrior to get upgraded 20 rows (!) to travel back to 1977-78 for the most in-fucking-credible evening, but, I digress.

I'll say it again. From Shamus, to Mike, to Jesus, to Adrian, to Karl, to everyone who ever slipped me a note, had a kind word, to that wonderful Japanese girl at AIFL who took notes in Japanese (is it Kanji?), to everyone who ever took a wonderful photograph under my direction, to any door I ever opened and any person who every walked through on their own, to any person who ever heard me lecture at a photo exhibition at a museum, to anyone who was privileged to meet a famous photographer because I dragged them to a show, anyone who was kidnapped by me and had to ride in the stinkin' Lincoln, Buck Nissan, or my iMac xTerra and had to listen to me sing at the top of my lungs on the way to some distant field trip...especially my two recent lunch buddies (I'll spare naming you, Mr Green and Mr Greenhouse)

You fucking ROCK and have NO FUCKING IDEA the gift(s) you have given me, which will keep on giving (no, not the clap).

You gave me my sight back, my hearing back,
and my heart is back where it belongs.

Thank you a million times, and then some.
Here's to future days.

Or I will stalk you all, like the serial killer mojo which I have down

It's all in the eyes.
and the I.

Amazing|George Michael

I was mixed up when you came to me
Too broke to fix
Said'daddy get you gone, I'm missing my baby'
Still missing my baby

I was stitched up by the hands of fate
Said how you gonna make it on your own
If luck is a lady?
Maybe luck is a lady

I was going down for the third time
My heart was broken, I was not open to your suggestion
I had so many questions
That you just kissed away

Tell me, I guess that cupid was in disguise
That day you walked in and changed my life
I think it's amazing
The way that love can set you free

So now I walk in the midday sun
I never thought that my savior would come
I think it's amazing
I think it's amazing

I think you're amazing

You tried to save me from myself
Said 'Darling, kiss as many as you want!
My love's still available
And I know you're insatiable'

We're like victims of the same disease
Look at your Big Bad Daddy, and your mom
And your mom...was always acting crazy

I was going down for the third time
My heart was broken, I thought that loving you was out of the question
Then I saw my reflection
Saying please don't let this go

Tell me, I guess that cupid was in disguise
Tha day you walked in and changed my life
I think it's amazing
The way that love can set you free

So now I walk in the midday sun
I never thought that my savior would come
I think it's amazing
I think you're amazing

Celebrate the love of the one you're with

Celebrate, this life with your baby
I think you should celebrate yeah
Don't put your love in chains baby
No no, walk in the midday sun
I thought I was dreaming
I think it's amazing
I think you're amazing

I said celebrate the love of the one you're with

As this life gets colder
And the devil inside
Tells you to give up

but know when to walk away,
especially when your heart tells you why,
and you know it's oh-so-right.

I love you all.
And I really miss Grace.
But I know she's right here.
Soon. Two more.
Hawk and Venus.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

39 years later...

Not like this doesn't all figure.

Thursday, 10 August 2006
born 4 May 1960
©Astrodienst AG

Who you are
Valid during many months: The effects of this influence are not always spectacular, but if you watch carefully, you will notice that there are all kinds of new and stimulating happenings in your life. It is not running along in the usual manner. But the changes and the unexpected events are not especially disturbing to you. Instead they open up new understandings and opportunities and give you a feeling that life still has some excitement and potential for growth.
Opportunities may come about through friends, or they may simply pop up in some other area of your everyday environment. You may become involved with a new group of people who live in a way that you hadn't thought possible before. You may be attracted to new philosophies and new techniques for managing your life. This is one of the influences under which people begin to study astrology.

All of these events are expressing your desire for greater freedom of self-expression. During this time you have the opportunity to gain greater control over your life and to make it a better vehicle for what you want to do. Any relationship that begins under this influence will be an expression of this fact, and even old relationships will be changed so that they further your objectives. Opportunities for advancement in your work will come suddenly through relationships with your superiors.

All of this sounds like luck, but this influence actually is showing you that your life can be much more free and that your potentials are greater than you have realized. We all have a natural tendency to settle into comfortable ruts, which can be severely limiting. But the energy of this influence acts suddenly, so that you are forced to sit up and take notice. The purpose of this influence is to tell you who you are. It is not giving you anything you haven't earned.

Uranus Sextile Sun
activity period from middle of April 2006 until end of December 2007

A fierce spirit ***
Valid during many months: This influence can have considerable dangers if you do not handle it properly. Its great energies can be used for constructive effort, however, through which you can accomplish a great deal. The problem is that it arouses ego energies either in you directly or in another person who can affect you, which can be very difficult if the energies are frustrated.
If you are affected directly, this influence can stimulate your ambitions and make you want to get ahead at any cost. Positively, this gives you the ability to work incredibly hard for long hours to achieve your objectives. In fact, if you are not careful, you can work so hard that you become physically exhausted, leaving yourself open to illnesses and physical breakdown. You hardly feel fatigue and weariness until it is too late. Use your tremendous energy, but be sure not to overdo it!

A much more dangerous possibility, however, is that you might work toward your personal ends - success, power, fame or whatever - without any regard for those around you. You may pay no attention to people who disagree with you, whether they oppose you outright or whether they think you are wrong and are trying to set you right. You will lose the benefit of potentially good advice from those who would help you, and you will win the undying hatred of your opponents. Enemies you make at this time will eventually have the power to damage you, even if they don't have it now.

There is some danger of accidents under this influence, almost always because of frustrated energy within you. Obviously the solution is to express any anger and resentment that you feel and communicate with the people who are important to you about your feelings. Also avoid any situation in which you are exposed to unnecessary risks, for here again the energy may come out in some undesirable way.

Pluto Square Mars
activity period from beginning of February 2005 until end of November 2006

A defiant tone *
Valid during several weeks: You identify very strongly with your ideas and opinions at this time, and you are rather inclined to be argumentative. If someone disagrees with you, it seems like a personal affront. You may get into pointless arguments by defending a position that doesn't need to be defended. You put forth your ideas with considerable vigor at this time, which may provoke others. Even your routine communications may take on a defiant tone, especially if you feel that others have had the upper hand at other times. On the other hand, if you have to "sell" an idea of yours to someone in your job or anywhere else, this is a good time to do it. As long as you refrain from giving people the impression that you are attacking them, you will impress them by the power with which you state your ideas.

Mars in the 3rd House 3
activity period from middle of July 2006 until beginning of September 2006


Audra, Heather, Tom, Sandor, Monique, Amanda, Wilson, Martin, Brandon, (who'm I forgetting???? Justin, Rebecca, Kristen, Bobby, Wayne, Andre, Heather, Nadiyah, Zusedie and Nicki: God, I hate this! Ryan! How could I forget you!

Live once, and boldly.

You guys rock more than Freddie and Queen ever did.

Oh. And if I'm not invited to graduation...
It's called "hell to pay" or, a night in one of those bars.

I've Got A Life|Eurythmics

Turn it down so I can’t hear it
Turn it out so I can’t see it
It’s just useless to ignore
We’re going down, you don’t feel it
Turn it round, you don’t mean it and
I can’t stand it anymore

When the whole world sighs
And it’s making you so deflated

I've got a life
Though it refuses to shine
I've got a life it aint over (it aint over)
I've got a way
It's the only thing that’s mine
All I'm asking for is tenderness
A little tenderness

Ooo it's a cruel place
You never asked to be here
Nobody cares and no one’s gonna help you now (hold on)
It's dog eat dog the human race
The only thing they'll do is hate you (hate you)

Such a crime to be unkind
Turn your cheek pretend you're blind

I've got a life
Though it refuses to shine
I've got a life it aint over
It aint over
I've got a way
It's the only thing that's mine
All I’m asking for is tenderness

I've got a life
Though it refuses to shine
I've got a life it aint over
It aint over
I've got a way
It's the only thing that's mine
All I’m asking for is tenderness

Be strong now baby
Gotta be strong now baby
Gotta be strong!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Chiron. Prominently placed.

First off: glad you called it UNDER PRESSURE. The only duet Queen recorded, and it was with Bowie. And Annie slaughtered him at The Concert for Life.
It's on YouTube.

I can repeat myself of earlier about the e-mails and the want to be v. need to be, but it's getting to be a moot point. I guess the signs are all around us, we just have to use our six senses (yes, six; at least) to interpret all of them.

Second. God DAMN! I'm glad I got to you. (I've got to get to you first, before they do...Depeche) In John Deacon's immortal words: "ooh you make me live, ooh you're my best friend..." You fuckin' ROCK.

Here's that composite chart I was telling you about, buddy. Nothing speaks to me more than Chiron being in the 12th house, and don't say I didn't point it out. Remember that.

Hold on Hold on yesterday day is gone and the night is long –Texas

Precious and fragile things need special handling
my God what have I done to you? –DM

All I can ask, from any of them, especially you, is, just:

One More Try|George Michael

I've had enough of danger
And people on the streets
I'm looking out for angels
Just trying to find some peace
Now I think it's time
That you let me know
So if you love me
Say you love me
But if you don't just let me go...

'Cos teacher
There are things that I don't want to learn
And the last one I had
Made me cry
So I don't want to learn to
Hold you, touch you
Think that you're mine
Because it ain't no joy
For an uptown boy
Whose teacher has told him goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

When you were just a stranger
And I was at your feet
I didn't feel the danger
Now I feel the heat
That look in your eyes
Telling me no
So you think that you love me
Know that you need me
I wrote the song, I know it's wrong
Just let me go...

And teacher
There are things
That I don't want to learn
Oh the last one I had
Made me cry
So I don't want to learn to
Hold you, touch you
Think that you're mine
Because it ain't no joy
For an uptown boy
Whose teacher has told him goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

So when you say that you need me
That you'll never leave me
I know you're wrong, you're not that strong
Let me go

And teacher
There are things
That I still have to learn
But the one thing I have is my pride
Oh so I don't want to
Hold you, touch you
Think that you're mine
Because there ain't no joy
For an uptown boy
Who just isn't willing to try

I'm so cold
Maybe just one more try...

©Strickland 8 August 2006

DAMN! So THIS is what I look like LEERING over the front desk.
I feel so fucking sorry for way too many people.
Taken with the school security cam, I ran it through Photoshop.
Had to eliminate the beam running through my head, appropriate though it was.
J, I hope the retouch does the justice.
I'm pretty stoked, and I'm never one for a one-off.
Archimago raves "serial killer!"
Waiting on the Green Lantern's take, as well as MetroDesign's.
Vance's should be a few posts previously.

Thought for the Day

In light of my inability to staunch the flow of blood from my goodwill investment of my hard-earned dollars into my "esteemed college's for-profit corporation's stocks" I thought it rather apropos that one of my "thought for the day" books has this chilling parallel:

you can't keep profits up by keeping wages down.

D'ya hear that, guys?

What's behind the curtain at the end of the yellow brick road?
Would someone please fucking tell me?
I know there ain't no wizard,
and the emperor sure isn't wearing any clothes,
I don't care WHO has a fashion design and marketing program.
And God knows I love (most of) my colleagues...
And the poor fucking lambs, I mean students, led to slaughter.

My privilege...

©2006 OrangeMercury
Frank + Pete

This man sat in very silent witness while I had my ass kicked throughout high school for the simple fact that I am gay. He's the best thing to ever come out of an interminable wait at CT's DMV. Thankfully we hooked up again in 2000, after never having uttered so much as a syllable to each other throughout those unbelievably unforgettable and unbearable years at Holy Cross in Waterbury (thankfully, the disco years!)

I had the high privilege of watching him put his faithful companion Tate down one Monday, only to sit and weep silently when he spoke volumes this past Monday, a mere two weeks later, and bravely delivered a heartfelt and engaging eulogy upon the passing of his father, a complex man who never had a kind word for me beyond "fairy" or a glance as cold as steel.

Trust me. The apple may have fallen so very far from the tree, but in some twist of irony, Senior would be so very proud of how Junior turned out.

And I'm so very lucky, blessed and proud to call this straight guy my very best friend. Here's to 5am coffees and dealing with the crowd at the gym, buddy!

Our time is coming. Rest assured.
You are a fucking genius.

Just gotta ask...

Sometimes, deep in your heart, in your gut,
you just know...

Why I teach college at...

I certainly don't do it for the less than $200 I take home every week.
And I don't do it for the blood I'm giving on the floor of the stock exchange.
And I don't do it for the recognition I'm certainly not getting from the suits.

This is why I teach.

**....Elated that YOU have entered MY life...
...ASSISTING ME in regaining my
Vision....teaching ME how to SEE again.
It's almost like I feel that
"it's gonna be alright..."

This is an unsolicited and unedited e-mail from one of my students.
Who has a right to remain nameless.
It could be a guy. It could be a girl.
They could be black, white, latin, other.
They could be gay, they could be straight.

Does it make a fucking difference?


All of them.
Including this wonderful spirit.

God bless them all,
and thanks to SBB for putting me here,
and thank you, God, for allowing me to stay.

I may not be where I want to be,
but I knowknowknow I'm where I need to be.

Oh. Did you hear that Austen?

Playlist|Getaway [Texas]

With lyrics like:
the ring you were holding has hit the floor
and I can't live in this house with you no more

how could this NOT be fuckin' brilliant?

Download the ACOUSTIC version HERE.
Nothing else is worth it!

Getaway - Texas

Just stop you know you can't deny
Just stop you know there's no reply
I've had it all don't say that
Just stop and tell me it's good bye
Don't you understand
What I'm saying
We never gave ourselves the chance

You know I've got to get away
Run, leave you behind
The world goes slowly
So sad to leave this time
The ring you were holding
Has hit the floor
And I can't live in this house with you no more

This time I know you'll hesitate
Deep down you hope it's not too late
You said it all except good bye
I think it's time that you should try
Don't you understand
What I'm saying
We never gave ourselves the chance

Because I know
I still loved you
And I can't stay another day

Get away
You know I've got to get away
Get away
You know I've got to get away

By the light of the full moon...

Wednesday, 9 August 2006
born 4 May 1960
©Astrodienst AG Full Moon

Creative activity
This is a good time for any kind of creative activity. If you are active in a creative field, you should be unusually productive today. Under any circumstances this is a good time to get involved with the arts or any other activity concerning beauty. It is also an excellent time to redecorate your home and make your personal surroundings more attractive. Your taste for beauty is aroused, and you are much more sensitive to the aesthetic nature of your surroundings. This is also a time when you feel very affectionate and have a great need to express your affection for others. You want to give and receive love. Usually this is a very pleasant influence, because you are pleasant to be around. Others can sense how you feel about them, which makes them feel good in return.

Venus Trine Med.Coeli exact at 00:20
activity period from 8 August 2006 to 10 August 2006.

Dear Austen| Part II

Note: edited slightly to protect the ones I love. That's about all I can say.

Despite my very frontal assaults on you with e-mails, blog postings, and phone calls in which I've been downright honest, brutally and painfully friendly and hostile, the only contact with you ("I'll call you tomorrow, or the next day et al") have been e-mails in which you deliver some supposedly important (to me) information (my sister's here, I'm going to New Hampshire) in which I'm supposed to revel. Somewhat flimsy excuses and negative reactions and responses and remarks to very humble and heartfelt invitations (re: movie: "the Times gave it a bad review; I heard it's scary" when you could have said "thanks for the thought Merc, but I'm going over C+C's' tonight; maybe we can catch another movie either this weekend or when our schedules permit or when there's something we both want to see playing...") or lunch or coffee ("I'm really all sweaty and dirty" , lunch, 11am in the morning "I'm going to dinner tonight - night! -) I didn't really care about the dirty and sweaty. I wasn't inviting you over to sleep in the orange; I was inviting you over to sit with me in the shade and share a cup of cuban coffee like I can make it, and have a pastry with me, something I do with Frank, something I did with you AT YOUR PLACE and never at my place.

So you let days go by when you have poison ivy and I send get well e-cards and I think you're at home and really hurting, and you're out and about and doing ok, but I don't know that because it was a crisis when last we spoke, and that was three (maybe four?) times when I had to ask (read: beg) you to go to lunch.

So I don't get it and I never will. Maybe that's the kind of friends you want to be. I can't ignore you because there is love for you in my heart. But there's more love for me and there's more love for The Warrior, and there's more love for The Soldier's Brother and there's more love for my students.

and there's more love for who I am and there's more love for my future and there's more love for me
for better for worse

because I am the sum total of my experiences.

you either get it, or you don't.

I can't make anything any plainer.

And today's a very full moon.

I'll say a prayer for you (Texas).

Oh. And Frank's father died, in addition to us putting Tate down.
I think you know how I feel about death and NOT TALKING TO PEOPLE I LOVE.

I've got a life
it ain't over
it ain't over... Eurythmics 2005

hold on to what we have yesterday is gone and the night is long hold on to what we have – Texas

stop hearing, start listening my friend
to the world
even the rock speaks

oh, and The Lady in the Water?
The critics, and the public, are so fucking stupidstupidstupid.
It's a fairy tale.
And for once, just once, this guy would like to believe.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Jonathan Tichenor V. Redux

I gotta tell you.
I'm glad you chose the color of life.
It's also in the pumpkin patch.
The green of the vine.
The JT situation is really killing me.
Chance favors the prepared mind y
Señora Suerte esta loca!

Not unlike the 4th of July.

For class: 10 August 2006 Photoshop 2 9am

From an e-mail to my fuckin' A brilliant group of lambs which I am personally saving from the slaughter. Funny. At one point in my life, I worked for the Humane Society of Great Miami and ended up with 13 cats and two dogs (Diva and Zeus), and ended up bringing down the bitch ("National Board Excoriates Local Director"). I feel now, especially after the Jack and the Beanstalk analogy today, that I was the David in the Goliath epic. Fuck. So they let me go. I have a few things I need to finish here.

We will follow one of these courses, based on the responses, required by everyone, by 4pm Wednesday. Thanks.
1. films by William Friedkin, director (Cruising v. The Exorcist) Themes and Imagery, shot by shot
2. Storyboarding in Film (from paper to film, select movies: SAW, THE CELL, SE7EN, HOSTEL, MOULIN ROUGE ET AL)
3. The Videos of Mark Romanek, Diane Arbus, Fur and Nicole Kidman
4. a select group of photographers (black and white/color, male/female, themes, eras) compared/contrasted
5. Sante Sangre, dir. Alex Jodorowski; Color, Religion, Iconography and Photography
6. The Complete Works|Robert Mapplethorpe (including his X, Y, Z portfolios, student work, post-mortem publications)
7. Death in Photography (Joel-Peter Witkin, Weegee, Andres Serrano, Post-Mortem Portraiture)
8. Betty Page, Bunny Yeager, Gretchen Mol, BOUND, "The Pin Up Photograph" and "Our Boys at War"

Don't cha wish your teacher was hot like me?

Kurt + Freddie

From Kurt Cobain's suicide note:

For example, when we're backstage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowds begin, it doesn't affect me the way in which it did for Freddie Mercury, who seemed to love, relish in the love and adoration from the crowd which is something I totally admire and envy. The fact is, I can't fool you, any one of you. It simply isn't fair to you or me. The worst crime I can think of would be to rip people off by faking it and pretending as if I'm having 100 per cent fun.

Note to Kurt:

I guess you never knew how it killed Freddie too. And how he only felt love on the stage, and how it was his "persona" and how he stood in line at The Saint, and how he fucked for days, or rather, probably got fucked for days. After all, he died from AIDS. Not saying that you didn't have a talent, but HE had a talent, and HE was larger than life, and when you saw him in concert, he WAS LIFE. Witness Live Aid. For 20 minutes, the world was his, and we were gratefully in the palm of his hand.

No, it's not better to burn out than fade away. It's better to fight to the bitter fucking end. Witness INNUENDO.

The show must go on.

Not that I ever really knew your stuff, or would even recognize it (barring the stuff Mark Romanek filmed) but where would you have gone? And what about Frances?

Having a kid and offing yourself?
That's really kinda selfish, Kurt.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Samson & Delilah

Amazing what I find when I'm googling for an image for my own little world.
Samson didn't wear much in the crucial moment, but he knew what to wear.
Props to this painter.

Vault|1990s South Beach (ed. BLUR)

I had the occasion to be present for the dedication of The Holocaust Memorial on South Beach, and the privilege to hear (and photograph) Elie Wiesel, a true survivor of the horrors mankind can, and will, inflict on his own kind.
Brutally hot, there was something strikingly incongruous to hearing the hundreds, perhaps many more, pleading with each other, pushing, shoving, complaining about the heat, unusually heavy with humidity. Another type of heat. Another type of "unbearable." Yet this cacaphony all around me. The irony.

I could only think of the boxcars, the cold, the fears, the trains on paths to unknown hells, and the brutal silences which must have been pierced by only cries, moans, prayers and pleadings.

"God is not here today, priest."

God help those who are dying, every day, in the name of some God, any god.
And those who are standing behind a flag in the name of faith.

I heard TAPS today, and thought of you.
And your brother.
And how I hope to God I'm making a difference.

Biting the Hand| Vol I

I really love my fucking employer. Take this e-mail, for example. Seems the CampusVue system went down at 3something today. Never mind that there've been all sorts of obstacles to actually teaching IN THE CLASSROOM in addition to the plethora of IT issues clearly overwhelming the Chief Circuit Breaker.

I did note terribly fondly that while there was no mention of the impact on the students or the faculty (or the possible and oh-so-necessary communications between the two which takes place electronically, and did I mention OFF THE FUCKING CLOCK?)

THE SUITS WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT MARKETING AND ALL LEADS COMING IN WILL NOT BE LOST. Well thank-fucking-God that we won't lose the opportunity to lead another lamb to slaughter.

Can someone help me figure out what to do to stem the bloodshed in my classroom? I really don't like looking like a butcher at the end of four hours, and no matter how hard I wash my hands, I can't get your lies out from under my nails.

I sure hope my kids are listening.
Because I'm doing everything I possibly can, and then some, for all of you.


Shame on CNN!

The era of the "freelancer" or "stringer" as we knew it, is officially dead. When the monster of all communications beasts itself jumps on the bandwagon with their new "I-Report" (for CNN) MARKETING PLOY (don't mistake this as anything else people!) you can kiss making a living as a freelance photographer or, even, videographer, good-fucking-bye.

There's something terribly unethical about the cable giant soliciting imagery and sound from the vox populi. It's only opening wider Pandora's door and closing rapidly the door of opportunity for those of us who actually trained in this industry.

No longer is it enough to have an image of quality. Now the rush is on to have an image, any image. And they are soliciting for those images.

No one needs Weegee anymore. No one needs Arbus any more. No one needs Cartier-Bresson anymore.

Mr. Turner, what if no one needed you, or Mr Murdoch, anymore?
Think about it.

Get back to me, because I don't report for anyone but myself.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Monday's 'scope

Monday, 7 August 2006
born 4 May 1960

©Astrodienst AG

The ideal environment
Valid during several weeks: This is a good time for mental work. You plan very effectively, with a clear objective perception of the facts, and you think very carefully, paying close attention to detail. Your mind easily resolves a difficult and complex issue into its component parts so that you can handle each part separately and come to a valid conclusion. This is a good time for talking with others. Your objectivity will impress other people, and they will not worry that you might try to force them into a position that they do not want to take. You will establish an environment in which any subject can be brought up and discussed. Therefore this is also a good time for business negotiations. You know what you want, and you will listen to what others want and arrive at a satisfactory compromise.

Mercury Trine Med.Coeli exact at 03:02
end of June 2006 until 8 August 2006

Part 1: Miami 1993 ©Vance

This time, the smile's gone.
With good reason.
State your business,
or get the hell out of my way.

Vault|1990s Tea Dance SoBe II (ed. BLUR)

©2006 OrangeMercury
cropped from the original 35mm b/w neg

Vault|1990s Tea Dance SoBe (ed. BLUR)

From the period of time between (roughly) 1995 and 2000, I lived in Miami Shores and Hollywood (FL). During this time, I amassed hundreds of rolls which I photographed, and threw directly into my freezer; black/white, color neg, color slide, 35mm, 2 1/4, even infrared. I split from PJH, and ended up back in CT, and yet a fourth freezer, after having been in and out of cold storage over the years.

Dr. Austen finally got me moving on processing all the film. I lost count on how many rolls, but know it to be well over 500. I have another 500+ which have never seen even a contact sheet, many of which have never even seen my eyes since they were initially captured.

Herein is the first photograph off the walls, and scanned from the period I now refer to as THE BLUR. I like the play on the initials UR BL and yet the BLUR is so apropos because I can't remember where I was, know I was hardly sober, was heavily medicated, and definitely not happy, but I had Grace the entire way.

The pictures will help me remember, if I recognize them at all.

I'm particularly interested in self-portraits and pictures I don't remember at all.

Enjoy the ride. And the view. No censorship here.

Playlist|What About Us? Texas (acoustic)

Sunday, 6 August 2006
born 4 May 1960
©Astrodienst AG

A serious mood
This morning your feelings and emotions are much more intense, but at the same time your sensitivity is stimulated. You feel everything much more powerfully than usual, and you are not likely to take your feelings or anyone else's lightly. It puts you in a serious mood and makes you seek the most powerful and intimate encounters with another. Sexual relationships may be considerably enriched, because this influence enables you to get past the superficial levels of communication that may have been driving you and your loved one apart. In this way you can again feel as one. In general, life will call you to approach it with some passion and feeling. And if you can respond, it can be a very rich and rewarding experience in which you learn much about your feelings.

The interpretation above is for your transit selected for today:
Moon Trine Pluto exact at 07:35
active only on 6 August 2006.

Dear Sinead:

Thanks for the call this morning. I was bummed I wasn't here to get it. I'll send you the photo when it's done. I'm still waiting to hear from my photographer. Glad I could turn you on to TEXAS. Yeah, I think you'd rock on GETAWAY, but we'll take that to the agent. OK, and I will promise a "sinead-a-like"; Tom'll prolly wanna do it anyway. Hit me back.