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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.

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.

4 of 4!!!!!

404? no! I finished my last final project!

I haven’t Showered, or Shaved, or Changed since I started this thing 3 days ago. I want to play City of Heros! But I want to be clean a whole lot more. I also need to get josh melissa’s rent (she’s good for it) in cash so it clears before our rent check.

!!!! =0

I’m done!

btw if your ever programing in java and you get a problem with serialization give up right away. Its not worth it.

Java makes a much better coffee.

-Francis

3 of 4

A lot of talk coming about where I should live, what school I should attend, jobs, career choices, everything. I don’t even want to think about it.

Final 3 of 4 was in Calculous. I did so/so. I’ll know for sure sometime in two weeks.

-Francis

2 of 4

I was too blown away by my second final last night to post. It wasn’t *that* hard, it was just a mind fuck. Thank you Dr. Provine! I’ll recommend this professor to anyone who wants to learn and can take a little bit of pressure. He’s certainly not the type to do all the teaching him self.

“What’s blah and blah?”
“I don’t know.” (lie) “What do you think blah and blah is?”

I’m off to my calc final, I suck so much at this, I feel like I’ve been taking calculous for ever, like its a bully that keeps kicking my ass and taking my lunch money. Its not even that hard. I better not keep any money on me just in case though.

-Francis

1 of 4

I just finished 1 final and I’m left with the remaining 3.

My second one is tonight at 6:30.

At 10:15 I sat down for my symbolic logic final. I had actually gotten there early so you could say I sat down at 10:10 for the final but the professor didn’t show until 10:15. I took the test and brought it up to the front. I wasn’t the first one finished but I was hardly the last. I did rather well I think, there was nothing I couldn’t figure out eventually.

A month ago I missed the second test for the class and my emails regarding the test were never returned. I also didn’t return to the class myself… The past two weeks I’ve been a total wreck barely leaving the house. The two weeks prior I was a partial wreck and defiantly didn’t have things together.

So to study for the class I sat in Starbucks and did the semesters worth of homework, and today, it payed off.

I apologized for my absences and I showed him I had done all the homework. Then I asked him about the missed test, asked him how he wanted to handle it. Now for what I didn’t expect. Dr. Bigaj handed me another version of the test I missed and I sat back down.

It took me all the time for the final but I was able to finish the second test and hand it in on time. I even did the extra credit. Dr Bigaj even took a few pages of my homework.

I like this guy Dr. Bigaj and I’ll recommend him as a professor for anybody. I screwed up in his class but I learned the material and he’s still going to give me a grade based on that. I’m dam lucky.

-Francis

APC

Tonight I saw A Perfect Circle in concert. They were pretty good and who ever was managing the show did them justice. The lighting, the set, the sound it was wonderful that manager did right by APC.

I have also confirmed my belief that even though it’s an hour and 45 minutes away from here (as opposed to 30 minutes) the sound at PNC Bank Arts Center is twice times better then Camden’s Tweeter Center and that it vastly makes up for extra traveling.

I was smiling after the show and a waitress noticed at a diner afterwards and told me to never stop being happy. =)

I wish I was really happy – I’m working on it though. Self pity is a path that no one wants to read about. I’ve just been angry lately, at my self first and foremost, I’m really not doing well at this end of semester thing, and at… other people. I’m going to feign my oncoming panic attack and change the subject.

There’s some really cool stuff in the music world.
Let me get the small stuff out of the way.

Mini Kiss opened for tonight’s show. They were small, weren’t really playing musical instruments, and they sucked. But they were “little people” and they were dressed as Kiss, it was kinda neat.

The Burning Brides opened for APC. The were neither burning nor brides as Sarah pointed out. And they kinda sucked. But they had a chick bassist , and I’ve got a weak spot for chick bassist. (Women who play the Base guitar – I was using another word that was wrong – thanks to Andrew for the tip) Paz who used to play for APC but then joined Zwan (I saw her in concert) is a chick bassist. Unfortunately who ever the basest is in Burning Brides has no rhythm and it bothers me. She would play and play well but she would also attempt to move to the beat and would convulse instead. I couldn’t figure out how one could move to a completely different beat and still play the first one. Anyway APC after loosing Paz picked up James Iha who is dam good. (Iha used to play with Billy Corgan in Smashing Pumpkins.)

I started thinking that with all the people from all these bands working together (APC, Zwan/Smashing Pumpkins, tool, Manson and NiN to name a few) and trading band members, they must know each other well. Sarah assumes they’re all friends, while based in reality it’s really what she wants to be true. I figure they’re at least on each others Christmas lists.

I keep mentioning Sarah because she’s the one who played me APC for my first time, she’s also the one that got the tickets, and the one who knows more about these cool bands then anyone I know. Thank you Sarah!

I got to goto sleep. I apologize for the… mottled post but it is late and I am tired. Hope all is well in all your worlds because mine is about to become nothing but dreams. ;-)

-Francis

PS Speaking of dreams I had an odd one the other day. I got married and I knew it wasn’t going to work out. I also belittled the patron of the hall where the reception was because he was charging for plates. It was odd…

I just heard 3 explosions, possibly gun fire, probably fireworks. I need to find a new place to live, I’m glad I’m moving out of this one.

Spring Break

So I’m back. A week later and few dollars richer. I’ve decided that I can’t wake up in the morning while in NYC. I’ve got an 18 year habbit of not sleeping at night in that city and while I tried quite hard, I could not break it. Thank god I have more luck here. (When I’m not up at this hour.)

I spent most of the week sleeping, I was going to say working but I slept through most of it. I did get a good 2 days worth in and got the cash to prove it. The only thing I’m stuck with is not knowing how to properly delete old backups automatically. A little shell script would do what I want but I was to tired to figure it out, and its probably not the best way to do things either.

On tuesday I got to spend a little time with Steff but I had to fight American Idol for it. American Idol is possibly the biggest waste of air time on TV, but I could be wrong that mob of midgets vs. and elephant thing was pretty crappy. I hate Fox more then Matt Groening.

Thursday I got sick because of some ill placed (and by placed I mean in my stomach) olives. But before my almost puking out an ill made hamburger (the burger was fine but it didn’t happen to be what I ordered) and a few olives I attended Fat Cat Billards which also happens to be a happening Jazz club.

I loved the musicians. I’m proud to say that the trumpet has become my favorite jazz instrument. The sounds that thing can make is awesome. It wasn’t about the sound, jazz never is, its about the emotions that the musician is conveying threw their music. I don’t think this bunch would ever be that expressive with anything else, not speech, not body language, nothing.

They also had a guest play with them. I can’t remember his name to save my life. But he was a drummer and he played more naturally then he walked or talked. Click for more on Fat Cat Billiards

Friday I drove 40 miles to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in Scarsdale NY. It was a good movie, I need to see it again under different circumstances when I’ve got less on my mind but I grasped enough of what Kaufman was thinking when he made it to make this viewing worth my while. If you don’t know I’ve got a thing for his movies. He’s probably one of the weirdest writers out there and thats why I think he’s one of the best (Reference The Icarus Project to see why being weird is a dangerous gift. Note: deserves a post on its own.) I haven’t seen all his movies yet (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is next in my Netflix Queue.) but Adaptation, Being John Malkovich and Human Nature (which is odd) have all turned out to be worth the $11.50. (Yes folks New York City is a rip off.) I’ve left each movie feeling confused, dazed, sad, happy, or in love. And each time impressed. As I said I’ve got a thing for his movies.

After the movie we went to a diner and spouted movie quotes. I had some interesting things I wanted to discuss about the movie. But I was quickly informed that I shouldn’t try to have a discussion. (Its been a long time since any of my friends turned down intellectual conversation.) so I joined in on the movie quotes. A few funny ones were said but in the end I was left hung up on wanting to convince people that a gag movie (Jay and Silent Bob Strikes back) wasn’t better then a Mislabeled Comedy (Its drama: Chasing Amy). It may have been more funny but it had no story. And being funny, while fun, gets old really fast. I can only laugh at “Cock Knocker” so many times. Which is totally alright because gags aren’t meant to last for ever.

I need to watch “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” again so I can figure out what I was thinking the first time I saw it and maybe talk with people about it.

I went home that night in a poor mood, I guess I wasn’t looking to drive so much for so little. I had originally planned to see it that morning in a local theater with someone I could talk to, but she couldn’t make it.

Saturday I slept a lot (much needed) and then fixed things, packed (forgot a shirt I bought and really liked and a flashlight – hoping to receive them in the mail soon), fixed things at my parents house and then went home. I did get to say hi to my ever interesting aunt who I should visit sometime soon.

As if I needed an excuse to flee to Seattle for a week or two. ;-)

Its ‘wayy’ past when I wanted to goto sleep, I would have gone to sleep hours ago but a friend I hadn’t seen in a while showed up and I went on a diner run with them. (Stupid friends working the night shift and never sleeping EVER.)

I’m glad I’m home. Even if this apartment is only going to be home for a few more months. (We’re all moving out if you didn’t know.) My most promising new home is a couple’s apartment. The couple are friends of Josh’s and they have a room mate moving out (going to germany or something odd). I don’t know them yet, nor do they know me but I’m told they’re nice people. Because I don’t know how that will pan out I’m still on the look out for 2-3 bedroom apartments and people who will want to live there. I shouldn’t have too much of a problem with that, especially since I plan on living on campus until I meet enough people that I can find 2-3 financially backed, sane room mates. I know its a tall order but I’m feeling hopeful.

I’m sleepy (by far) so I’m sleeping. Good night.

-Francis

TGI… the weekend!

Hello everybody.

Philadelphia is a wonderful city. It’s got style, flare, and it’s not New York. New York City is wonderful in its self but to have the same sort of gathering of culture somewhere else, filling a different city, its refreshing. And they have good cheesesteaks.

I consider myself lucky. I have Calculus 3 days a week (monday, wednesday, friday) at 8am, and Symbolic Logic twice a week (tuesday and thursday) at 9:50 am. I’ve got other classes in the morning too (Computer Lab Techniques, Intro to Java Object Oriented Programming, and Micro Economics) just not that early but thats not the point. I’m lucky because I don’t have Calculus with Dr. Charzar (I don’t want to remember his real name – he’s better as a pokemon) I have it with Dr. Howe. He was described to me by 3 different people as a hippie but an excellent teacher.

I’ve been getting up early ever day this week. So friday after my 8am to 8:50am class (my only class of the day) I came home and slept for 8 hours and I felt great! Like Toni the tiger.

I’m in a war with my drunk neighbor who’s blasting music so loud its shaking things because we were a little loud last night. We don’t try to piss them off. I happen to like the father and the kids. But the lady she’s going down.

-Francis

PS They Finally shut the fuck up.