Moving Day

My belongings in easy to transport containers.
My belongings in easy to transport containers.

Updating has been difficult lately. Mostly because I’ve moved! I’m now about 5 blocks further away from the hosue I grew up in. Every year I seem to go 5 more blocks down 8th ave.

Getting all of our stuff into this new house was a chore. Andrew and myself have just a tad too many things to throw in a bag and deliver to a new homestead. It would have been an impossible task if it weren’t for a few friends who showed up in the nick of time to lend a hand.

My good friend Jason was the first to show up and stayed with us all day and into the night. This is the 3rd time he’s done this and all he’s ever asked for was lunch and dinner. (and beer – which I still owe him) My brother was around for a little while and helped move my television into our van. It was a gift that I’ve been paying for ever since. While beautiful (HD, good speakers, lots of inputs) it’s about 300 pounds of suffering, that moves once a year. It took a few hours before we moved it out of the van. Caroline showed up a bit later and immediatly called for backup. Both Caroline and Tina moved box after box well into the night. I’m fairly certian I’m slightly responcible messing up their plans for the next two days, school and work come secondary when you’re as tired as they were when they left. Late comers were Jeremy, my Mother and Mike, who helped get some of the details (and heavy lifting) that we were missing after hours of labor.

The entire night ended (for most people) with a lovely diner at my favorite restraunt Two Boots. Thanks to my Father many delicious dishes were had by all of us. We were tired, hungry, and grumpy and it made the night good again.

Thank you everybody who helped. I’m still sore, but I would have been broken if it weren’t for you. Me and Andrew are getting the place setup and will have a housewarming in a few weeks. Much free food for everyone.

Even today as I write this, I still have other boxes left to move. I also figure my moving karma slightly lacking, I’ve helped a few people in my time, but I think after 3 moves in 3 years I need to give a little bit more back. Just remember, if you helped me, you’ve now got positve moving Karma, it’s going to come in handy one day.

-Francis

PRESS DOWN FIRMLY, YOU ARE MAKING 4 COPIES

Rummaging though some old files I had left at my Godfather’s house (a former residence) I found what was left of my Father’s educational folders from my childhood. Why I have these files is beyond me, they seem like something that should belong in a baby book, like it’s something my parents should have held onto, or silently discarded. When it was thrust upon me a few years ago I had no idea what to do with it, so it got stuck in a cabinet only to be discovered by the next tenant years later. So what did I find?

(I found some memories, you don’t have to read most of it, you can skip to my realization that I was not expecting to do a journal type post and that none of this shit matters, down at the bottom. I like most of my posts to have a point. This one is different.)

Well a brief look showed my social security number, in a lot of places, on a lot of forms. I’m sorry to say (only sorry for history’s sake) that I’m going to be shredding any form with that number, not that anyone would probably want to read it now anyway. It was interesting to note that while College’s incorrect and illegal use of social security numbers may have taught myself and so many of my friends our own numbers, that blatant misuse of the said number stems from much earlier on and I was just unaware. I’m going to save stuff for my Baby Book too and hope my parents keep it. I always figured this was more their job as they would remember what went on back then better.

IEP: The Individualized Education Program – is a document I have many copies and versions of. Thousands of man hours went into this document over the years. There are multi page letters from my parents writing in concern for specific provisions the IEP grants both for not enough enough help and again for too much unneeded help. Resource room, educational waivers for languages, assistant teachers, and untimed tests are part of evolving plans the school and my parents set out for me. I only really remember the untimed tests, it helped in math because if I didn’t know the math I could take the time to figure it out using the questions as clues and English because I wrote very very slowly and had a hell of a time with spelling, grammar, and getting my letters in the right order. The first version I have here is from 3/8/95, I was 11.

*SHREDDED*

I’ve got an old faded fax on heat transfer paper from Anthony J Alvarado Superintendent who apparently had letterhead with two fonts on it. April, 1995.

Dear Parent/Guardian:

District Two is please to inform you that your child (“Francis” is scrawled in) has been accepted to the NYC Laboratory School for Gifted Education for sixth grade beginning September, 1995.

It goes on but I hated that school. Here’s an excerpt from a “MID-SEMESTER PROGRESS REPORT” during I think my second year there, so 1996. It was the only comment I got, and the form states clearly and underlined “Unless noted below, your child is doing a satisfactory job.” so I think I was pretty top notch. Subject: Spanish, Teacher: Mr. Pena didn’t agree.

Francis needs to make an effort when it comes to class participation and paying attention in class. Up to now, he has shown none. I’ll do the best I can to help him with his work.

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: CLASS PARTICIPATION, COMPLETES HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS ON TIME, TESTS/QUIZZES/PROJECTS

Thinking back he was probably my age and I had trouble with languages and he had no experience with kids who didn’t learn the way he was taught to teach. But as it turned out his best was getting fired for biting another student while wrestling later on in that year. I had managed to schedule my resouces room to whever I would have his class so I didn’t even know until a day after he never came back. True story: I hate a bodega on Vanderbilt Ave. because it’s named “Pena’s. My report card had a couple of comments, but mostly praise in math and science, and even a good word in Spanish albeit a lower grade then everything else.

Ah, this collection is brought to you by my application to William Alexander Middle School 51, where I spent my 3rd and final year of Junior High. If I recall we had to argue with them to keep me out of the stupid kids classes, we couldn’t get me into “Regents Rainbow” but I got into “Rainbow” it was the same thing but I didn’t get to take the tests so I wouldn’t have to repeat the classes the following year in high school. I can’t tell you how much of my time was wasted over those years, that little tidbit isn’t even the half of it.

To: Gulotta, Francis B.
Class: 142
From: Pupil Personnel Services
RE: SPECIALIZED SCIENCE HIGH SCHOOL RESULTS
=========================================================
Taking the specialized High School Exam in Science represents a wonderful challenge and experience that you should feel positive about.

This year over 25,000 New York City students took the exam for only 4,000 seats (admissions). This represented a very competitive and difficult acceptance process.

Yadda yadda I got into “Brooklyn Tech” which wasn’t a bad deal. The real winner of such an environment was Kaplan who states their goal the following way “At Kaplan, our mission is to help individuals achieve their educational and career goals. We build futures one success story at a time.” I have to tell you, the amount of kids trying to prepare for that test was phenomenal. If you could afford to take that class and payed attention. You would probably get into a specialized high school. All they did (and they did it well) was to train you on basic verbal and math problems and let you practice taking tests about them over and over and over. They got our money we got into “special” schools and the Board of Ed got to create a cottage industry of people who could teach “examination skills”.

I just found my “SBST” documentation for a meeting they had, that stands for “School Based Support Team” I don’t know why I had one other then this one meeting. They were a diverse group a special Education Teacher (I didn’t like her), a General Education Teacher (Leaves of Grass is all I need to say about him. I really didn’t like him and he didn’t like me, but thankfully he didn’t let that get in the way of doing his job. I stopped actively hating him after this.), a district Representative, an Educational Evaluator, a school Psychologist, a Social Worker (normally, I apparently didn’t have one, which makes me sad), and a Parent Memeber (My mom). They met on 4-4-2000 to discuss… oh well this document doesn’t even say! I remember so never fear. Those 7 people and my Dad who waited outside managed to remove the language requirement for me graduating high school. I had tutors, extra books, private lessons in and outside of school, and I had worked my ass off royally to try to pass a single language class for a long while. And after that day I never had to worry about it again. I’d probably have my GED or some shit if it weren’t for this.

I overheard someone I didn’t know from that SBST say “Lets just move on this, I don’t want to have to deal with his father.” which was music to my ears. My dad didn’t want to be there, or something about it bothered him so he was on edge. This is how I remember it anyway. He communicated these facts to this SBST member before their meeting. And while he sat outside during the meeting, his presence was obviously present inside. He half explained it to me later as “Sometimes you have to make them not want to deal with you more then they have to.”

I just found a very nice letter from an old psychologist writing in support for waving the foreign language requirement. It’s odd how you don’t remember someone at all and then once you place the name or thought of the person, it’s like opening a hidden box of memories. She was an interesting lady, I don’t remember if I learned or was helped by her at all, but I enjoyed going to visit.

An updated IEP from 1999.

I got some odd forms here. One is an authorization from the Chancellor for my mother to be on the SBST, another is a declassification plan for me, and lastly a letter saying I’m classified as “NOT DISABLED”. Oh and another version of my IEP this one from late 2000. And now I’ve found another meeting of the SBST with much less people but my mother still being the only one I know. A booklet about Parents rights and another one about Parents of children with disabilities rights. Man, who knew all this was such a big deal? I recall some drama over it but I mean, I was busy trying to make friends and get good grades. I guess taking on all this paperwork is another thing I can be forever thankful to my folks about.

I found here some statewide Student Performance Report for my bother, sticking him in the lowest range of students when it comes to reading when he was 10 years old. Ha!

Another IEP this one from even later 2000.

My parents writing pages of letters requesting that I be released from some special resource room brooklyn tech was forcing on me. That lady was annoying and I didn’t need the help in math or science, but those were the only two areas she was trained in helping. My parents are pleading with her to remove me from her clutches.

Back to my first Junior High School. I’ve got a letter here written May 30, 1997 it’s 3 pages long and it’s from my parents to the school’s “Co-Principals” (they sucked) let me quote the opening.

Dear Ms. Breslaw and Mr. Menkin

The Lab School is failing utterly to protect the emotional well-being of its students or to enforce a climate of basic civility. The school does not avail itself of resources developed by the Board of Education in its mediation programs or Peace Process which might facilitate the psycho-social environment of the school. As a result the school has become a bastion of prima donnas and students who are afrait to act humanely because there is no encouragement to do so.

Wow! And my Dad(?) wasn’t wrong. I blame this kid Alex. I don’t blame him a lot because he’s dead now. He had a disease that was going to kill him in a few years and only he knew it. He was the bitterest son of a bitch you could have met. He snapped at everything. Everything was a mortal offense. And I was his friend. I was also depressed (who knows why) and way overweight (I loved my milkyway bars) and had a dandruff problem I didn’t know how to fix (discovering how to properly wash my hair probably saved my life, it’s taken years but I now am able to leave the house without a shower if I want to with out fearing I’ll return to *that* kid again) and who knows what else. I needed a big change of environment and people in my life and leaving that school did it. Reading this letter my folks wrote I can’t blame them for being angry. In two years I went from bright and happy to failing and fucked up and I was like 12 years old.

I’ve seen my own son transformed from a popular, happy and well adjusted top student to a child who huddles into a ball with his teeth chattering from anxiety every morning before school.

Apparently the “Vicious tone” went beyond my memories of Alex and me being an easy victim. According to this letter, several parents brought this up for discussion individually during PTA meetings. And other kids are quotes as saying they go along with it because they fear being the next victim. Part of me wants to play my experience off as being whiney and lacking social tact, but reading though this letter shows there were a lot more problems there. I know I wasn’t the only student to leave that year, but I had no idea the level of fucked up bullshit going on there. While it would have only had been a start the DOE’s mediation program while intended for gang violence seems to have been the parents solution to the “white collar climate of harassment that is prevalent in the Lab School.”

Our son may leave, but the problem remains. For the sake of the children, the staff and the students should receive [mediation] training.

I think I’ll save that letter for my Baby Book as a reminder how to kick someone’s ass across the pavement using a pen as a way to stick up for your child. I wish I knew these people who were CC’ed but there’s a few of them.

More quips from Mr. Pena about how I’m falling behind in Spanish. A note from a math teacher saying that ever kid can learn math and I am no exception, I just need to be prepared for class and organize my notes better. I think by that point I had 1 notebook because I had to, but I was doing fuck all, all day long. I wanted nothing more then to die. Which is how I remember it. I didn’t want to kill people or leave, I didn’t think I could leave. I remember wanting to die. Fuck that school for making me think things couldn’t change.

More notes about how I could do better if I prepared myself.

My special ed folder. All that from before wasn’t even in the main folder. What the hell am I supposed to do with this? Do you know how long it’s going to take to shred all this crap? Ok I’m done. I had planned to write this about some funny Rowan Orientation crap I found in this mess. I didn’t expect to find or write about the Lab School or how we had to work the system to get basic shit out of it. Old report cards, student loan documentation, how I was a depressed and suicidal 12 year old, fuck all of it. So much drama attached to it all.

It’s funny how almost none of it is of any consequence.

Kings Highway

I used to hate Kings Highway. It runs from roughly north/south on the east side of brooklyn and swerves left and right, up and down, and grows from 2 lanes to 6 and back again. It just got in the way most of my life. But now I’ve got a job on it and can’t imagine how much of a pain getting around would be with out it.

I popped a tire a while back driving on it. You see… the problem was I had never driven on it during the day time.

Anyway, it rained on saturday and now I don’t have to wash my car.

And… there was something else that was funny and ironic. I forgot what it was but instead I’ll leave you with a quote form Yoplait.

“Together we can lick breast cancer.”

It sounds so wrong for such a good cause.

-Francis

Word to the wise

I’ve got 5 computers that have to be on and chugging tonight to finish a job. The hum is defining. I’m only doing this work for a friend, but one day I’ll need to make sure my office isn’t next to my bedroom.

wirelessnetwork.JPG
This little setup lets this desktop get on the wireless network through the laptop. The whole thing is setup in my sink because my bedroom (still unfinished) and my kitchen are the only rooms of my apartment that I’ve gotten to clean properly and my bedroom doesn’t have the desk space.

I’m up late now and I need to get up early tomorrow and I plan on putting in a full days work. The way I figure it, I can finish 3 major jobs all in a day and get some money in the bank as well as cash in my pocket. Then maybe just maybe I’ll pay off my yoga membership card and attend a class.

But who am I kidding, if I pull off what I’m planning, I’ll probably just sleep =)

-Francis

What’s in a blog

So I finish this big fight with my brother. It was needless and fruitless and it drove me nuts. The cause of all the madness, me trying to help my father.

Go figure.

So I did some good stuff today to unwind. I got to hang out with a very good friend of mine and watch Being John Malkovich.. the kind of friend who I haven’t seen enough of and I’d like to see more of. I did some work in the morning and got most of my domains straightened out. I had to use a lot of my skills to get things to move smoothly and I wasn’t even trying to do anything hard.

Frank kept asking me; “How is a normal person supposed to deal with this?”

They can’t. Thats why I think my business will work well even if its primary goal is small time.

I’m about to hit the sack, I stayed up to watch the season finale of The Sopranos. It was a good ending but a bad season, you won’t find any 4 dvd packs of this one. Only 13 episodes and half of them had little to no purpose.

Sarah yelled at me for giving away stuff, she wasn’t serious but it’s been on TV already so excuse me if missed it. Regardless I’m not going to say much more about the Sopranos, I just hope I don’t need to wait another year and a half for another season, they better put it back on normal rotation. (Never mind Alias was put on second half rotation for next year so the 4th season won’t happen for a while. I can’t say too many good things about the 3rd season though, Sydney doesn’t wear her bangs well, she shouldn’t be playing the hurt little girl character. And Vaughn doesn’t play the raging heart broken lover very well, I like the show and the characters but I was greatly disappointed this season.

So now for the point, what’s in a blog?
Do I use this space for random shit in my life? Do I gossip about my feelings for or about people? Do I account for my actions in life? or do I use this space to just vent?

I have no idea, but I’ll continue to write what comes to mind, in the mean time I’m starting my business. And apparently I haven’t told everybody, I’m moving back to Brooklyn and I’ll be here for a while. New Jersey was nice but I wasn’t flourishing there. My friends, my family, my work, and my home is here, and this is where I want to be. I’ll miss you rowan people but you won’t be far away. If we’re meant to keep in touch we will.

I’m also not returning to school in the fall, this next spring I plan to. But this fall I want to keep working on my business and my life. In the mean time I’ve got a list.

1) Get my self together
2) Fix up my apartment – I’ve put a lot of work into it already but I’m far from finished.
3) Help my parents clean out problem areas. – Currently they’ve taken enough of my help and I’m done for a while, but I’m a “strapping young man” and I know how to effectively clean and organize.
4) Make sure my business including MS 51 is running smoothly.
5) Do a double check on my self.

And then, once I have all that finished, I’m going and spending 2 weeks in london. I’ll have earned my vacation by that point.

I need a disclaimer at the bottom of wizard computing.
“All information is subject to change with out notice and all advice is to be followed at your own precaution.”

I’ll have to work on that a little, but I think it applies here too.

Good night all, hope your all getting by alright if not wonderfully. It’s just being wonderful is hard and is rare, so be happy when it happens but keep in mind it will happen again.

Boom!

I’m sitting on my porch with the two good cats. I’m going over mail and BOOM! Some engine starts and sends all the geese, and baby ducks wild! (Yes we now have at least one family of baby ducks!)

I’m going to try and find the ducklings tomorrow and take pictures.

-Francis

Toaster Oven

I got a Toaster Oven for $5 at the Goodwill store. I don’t know if everyone knows this but I’ve been wanted a toaster oven for a long time. Its like an oven with the convenience of a toaster. I can now make my toasted sandwiches with out having to heat up an entire oven!

Its like this one but has one dial for time and nothing else.
Toaster-oven.jpg

And while I may be pleased as punch I’m not quite as proud as this lady.
05_toastlady.jpg

-Francis

Housing

Well our fucking landlord wanted to up the rent to $360 per person (didn’t matter who was living there). With the same for the security deposit. If he didn’t want us living there he should have said something and not pulled this bull shit. Tomorrow I’m going to see if there are offices I can visit to make sure I got all the facts strait. But to be honest I’m going there because he’s not treating us like tenants, he’s treating us like children.

I wish I had some comps in the area, I bet a quick call could figure out how much comparable buildings are.

Bottom line, I don’t like the way he’s treating me and my room mates. I just wanted a garden!

I did get that hair cut today and it doesn’t look half bad. I kept my hair a bit longer then my normal “I don’t know what I looked like before so just cut most of it off” cut. But its oh so much shorter then what I had before.

I like taking upside-down pictures of my self, they seem to come out better.
Almost as good as swiveling in my chair.

I’ll leave you today with the lyrics to a beautiful song that Sarah found. I suggest you go find someone with the Sew True album and listen to the song your self.

Glass Vase Cello Case
by Tattle Tale

Breathe into my hands are cupped
and like a glass to drink from;
Are you still,
still breathing.
Are you still,
breathing.
Are you still,
still breathing.
Are you still,
breathing.
Breathe into my hands are cupped
and like a glass to drink from…

-Francis

Parking

So I had to park in a spot between two Suv’s one of which had a ticket on it (for not moving during the alternate side parking I’d suspect). The spot was tiny and I bumped both suv’s multiple times and even tried to move the one behind my car. (Thank god his bumper met my bumper instead of my taillights.) As I was parking all I could think of was my friend Matt telling me that in New Jersey people would pass a spot if there wasn’t adequate clearance to make everyone feel comfortable. I just chuckled to my self.

-Francis