Category Page: school

Note that on the category pages, the posts are in chronological order, unlike the rest of the weblog.

Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Intro to Catholic School Tales
Author of this post is ~ tiny daniel ~ tiny daniel

Can you believe it? I went to Catholic school from about the last half of kindergarden through 4th grade. No nuns, just sociopathic teachers that I helped to push to the brink of retirement.

We used to recite the Pledge of Allegience, that spooky utterance that all good red-blooded american kids recited dumbly with hands on hearts. (I still like Calvin and Hobbes version the best...I pledge allegience, to Queen Fragg, and her mighty state of hysteria...Ow, Leggo! {if anyone can find me the link to this strip, I'd much appreciate it.) We did it however with 2 addendums:

1. with truth and justice for all...and God Bless America.
This was pretty standard parochial school fare, but then, even wierder, tacked on to the end was the misnomer:

2. I am special.

It wasn't too long before I noticed an astounding dichotomy. The teachers would make us recite this (all in unison of course), and then the first thing they'd say when you wanted to do something out-of-line was (I swear!), "Do you think you're special?"

When I pointed out this clear hypocrisy, I can't remeber exactly what I was told, but something about us all being special in God's eyes, but all being equals to the teacher. Only I don't think it was even that clarity-filled. More of a "shaddup kid, ya bother me" kind of response. I remember being quite unsatisfied, but also somewhat aware that I was just purposely being a pain in the ass.

I think I'm going to feature Catholic school stories all week.

lovingly or haphazardly posted at 02:32 AM

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Saturday, April 14, 2001

Catholic School Part I: Kindergarden
Author of this post is ~ tiny daniel ~ tiny daniel

Vito Rossalini and I were teasing each other about girls. It was just in fun, but he was saying I liked some girl, and I was saying he liked some girl, and we were going back and forth ribbing each other about it. The girl he was saying I liked, Gina Hallstrom, was actually sitting right there.

"Oh yeah, well you go over her house every DAY!"

"Oh YEAH? Well YOU ride her to Pizza Hut on your big wheel." (I still always wonder where Vito got this idea, what a date!)

I can't remember howm but at some point in the conversation, it got a lot less hypothetical, and he looked at me point blank and asked, "Do you really like her?"

I was suddenly aware of her prescence there next to me, and in a split second realized that to snort indignantly, "No!" would be to callously hurt the poor girl's feelings. I quite honestly had never thought of the girl that way, but I said, "Well, yeah." That seemed to somehow diffuse it. I thought. A day later or so, Gina came up to me and said, "Was that true, what you said the other day?"

Compelled by the same compassion (or cowardice) I again replied in the affirmative. "Boyfriend!" she said, and wrapped her arms around me. Gina was a pretty hefty girl if I remember correctly. It was kind of a surprise.

So we continued to be together (which involved mainly these occaisional hugs and outbursts) until our relationship just sort of fizzled out, I don't remember why...maybe because I never officially recognized the relationship...I did hug her back though, I remember that. I was never one to withhold affection.

lovingly or haphazardly posted at 12:16 PM

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Monday, April 16, 2001

Catholic School Part II: 1st Grade
Author of this post is ~ tiny daniel ~ tiny daniel

Mrs. Carroll had a little invention named after her...the Caroll. It was 3 sheets of cardboard taped together so that they would stand up by themselves, and covered with contact paper. Carrolls went up like a box around the 3 sides of a desk to keep 1st grade students from cheating on tests. Mrs. Carroll had one for every desk in her classroom. My second grade teacher used them as well.

I was a pretty disorganized kid, and had developed pretty bad work habits even in Kindergarden. It didn't create too much conflict in Kindergarden, but that all changed once I got in Mrs. Carroll's class.

We had the kind of desks that were open in the front, and you could just slide all your books in. Mrs Carroll's policy was to periodically come around and look in kids' desks, and if the cleanliness of the desk didn't meet her standards, she went the route of public humiliation. He would put one heavy palm on the top, and just push the desk over a little, dumping all of the offender's sundry shit all over the floor. It happened to some other kids, but I never thought it would happen to me. Then, one day, she got to me, looked in that desk, and mercilessly dumped everything onto the floor.

Could be worse, right? Well, after several months of me not completing homework assignments (for which adequate class time was provided (and used mostly for daydreaming and staring off into space)) she brought my parents in for a parent-teacher conference. As my mom and dad tell it, one of the suggestions she made for holding me accountable to my assignments, was to buy me a that they could take it away from me when I didn't complete them.

At the end of the conference she suggested that I get some counseling, and my dad said that he would be happy to if she went first.

lovingly or haphazardly posted at 12:50 AM

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Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Catholic School Part III: 2nd Grade: Trust and Respect
Author of this post is ~ tiny daniel ~ tiny daniel

Mrs Sanders was a younger, nicer teacher, and I liked to talk to her. During the class time allotted for homework (an eternal 3 hours or so straight) I would come up to her desk and tell her little jokes or just little things I thought of. She humored me but she knew what I was avoiding.

We did spelling homework out of a big workbook. We did our 2-3 page assignment, and then the next day we would grade them as a class. She would call out the answers and we would grade our assignments ourselves. Then, at the end of class, we would call out our scores one by one and she would write them down.

One day I looked down and realized that I hadn't done the assignment. Realizing that no one ever looked at anyone else's workbook, I simply waited as the assignment was graded, and called out my score as 100. I did it the next week, and I think for several weeks. This sort of unresolvable tension began to build in me. I wanted to do my homework, but I could hardly bring myself to when I knew there was no consequence to skipping it. I started to get a little, I would occaisionally throw in 98's and 97's to keep from arousing suspicion.

To this day I don't know how I got caught. She must have just read my workbook one day and seen that the last several weeks worth of homework were missing. My parents broke the news to me, and I think they were pretty nice about it, but I just remember feeling so, so, so busted. At one point they said, "You'll really have to work hard to win back Mrs. Sanders' trust and respect". That really hit me hard for some reason. I just felt like the world had ended.

I was so melodramatic...I remember pretending I was asleep and then tossing and turning and repaeatedly murmuring the words "trust and respect, trust and respect" in my sleep in the hopes that my parents would come by in the hall, concerned, and call Mrs. Sanders the next day and tell her that I was tortured by my sins and their consequences even in my dreams. I don't think this happened, and eventually I got tired and went to sleep.

lovingly or haphazardly posted at 04:11 AM

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Wednesday, April 18, 2001

Catholic School Part IV: 3rd Grade
Author of this post is ~ tiny daniel ~ tiny daniel

Mrs. Lund was a fun teacher. Kids looked forward to her class. She had a strong sense of personal authority and still had that "fresh out of teaching college" experimental kinda glow to her.

So, when faced with my "homework problem", she had her own unique way of dealing with it. It was the dead of winter in Illinois when she finally decided to get innovative. Homework was a privelege, she reasoned, and if I wasn't going to do it, then I would lose the privelege. She told me at one point that if I missed another homework assignment that just that would happen. She would set my desk in the back of the room and I would not be allowed to do anything for that whole day and the following day.

Well, sure enough, it wasn't long before I missed an assignment, and she pushed my desk to face the wall near the back of the room. 10 or so hours of class sure does seem long in such a situation, but I found ways to entertain myself. Besides the normal daydreaming, I discovered that if I pressed gently against the sides of my eyeballs, my normal vision would fade out, gradually replaced my exploding geometric forms and bursts of light. When the pressure was released, the world would gradually fade back in. I think I probably also used my palms to cut off the circulation in my carotid arteries and get a little oxygen dep. buzz. In spite of these diversions, it was on the whole incredibly boring, and I was sure that I would be the most diligent of students the moment the ban was lifted.

When it was, I was informed that if I missed even ONE more assignment, the restriction would once again be instituted, but this time for an entire week.

I don't know what sort of fugue allowed me to forget about this assignment, but I actually missed the VERY NEXT ASSIGNMENT. I remember it, even. It was a list of instructions for drawing a picture where you had to read ALL of the instructions, because if you did them it order, it wouldn't work. Like, "Draw a tree, make sure the tree has a hole in it, draw a bird's nest in the hole, etc.". Anyway, I remember looking at that stupid assignment just five minutes before our group was to meet and wondering how I could have forgotten it. I tried to do it, I even read the instructions, but how was I supposed to remember all 12 steps and not make any mistakes...well, it wasn't going to happen in 5 minutes, and sure enough, there I was holding the damn thing unfinished and my teacher looking at me with one seriously puzzled look when I didn't have it done.

And so my week began. I did not, however, ever complete that week of solitary. In fact, after 3 days or restriction, I never came back to Mrs. Lund's classroom again...
(to be continued)

lovingly or haphazardly posted at 01:42 AM

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Thursday, April 19, 2001

Catholic School Part V: more 3rd Grade
Author of this post is ~ tiny daniel ~ tiny daniel

Catholic School Part IV: more 3rd Grade:

It was after the 3rd day, I think, of my "doing anything" restriction. I was still at the school building, but class was long since forgotten. It was after school and there was a solid packed layer of Illinois snow on the ground. I was hanging out with my rowdy Cub Scout friends, and there was sledding to be done.

There was a small, but incredibly steep hillside on the side of the school and it made for wicked fast sledding. Even if you went down without a sled you could reach measurable speeds of 500,000 miles an hour. There was only one treacherous part. That year the hillside was solid ice, and at one point there was a spot that had formed horizontal ridges, like a washboard. If you went down it in your snowsuit, or a plastic bag, your butt was gonna get reamed!

Marcus Mitchell, resident jock, in a spirit of rowdiness (and probably in response to my big-ass mouth) scooped me up and threatened to toss me down the hill right at that very spot. "Time to go down the hill," he threatened. I was not going down that hill. I kicked and struggled, in spite of Marcus' outweighing me by probably half my scrawny little wieght.

All of my kicking worked, you could say, and Marcus lost his footing. I didn't go down the hill, but Marcus dropped me right there, and landed on my open leg, in what an orthopedic doctor would call a "lever position". Calculate the wieght of a 3rd grade meathead on my femur in a lever position and do a little math and you'll see that it's enough force to break the largest bone in the body.

I was very calm about it, as I am in crisis situations. "I think I broke my leg," I said.

"Bullshit," said Adrian Wallace, probably scared shitless, accusing me of faking. He threatened to jump on my leg if I didn't get up.

Tony Paisano, my roughneck protector (who once threatened to shoot the PE teacher with a .45) told him if he did he'd kick him in the nuts. I was touched (and deeply relieved).

It didn't take long before adults were notified and showed up in force. There was Mrs. Lund, putting her winter coat gently over me so I didn't go into shock. They asked me if I thought I broke it. "Yes," I said calmly, "I think I broke it."

Then I had my first ambulance ride (but not my last). I had indeed broken it, and we're not talking about some little hairline fracture. I had a tutor for the rest of the year, and I still didn't do my homework.
But that is SO another story.

lovingly or haphazardly posted at 01:37 AM

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Friday, April 20, 2001

Catholic School Part VI: Stacy McGuinn
Author of this post is ~ tiny daniel ~ tiny daniel

The first girl I wanted to be my girlfriend was Stacy McGuinn. One day she was picking on me and roughhousing with me (I remember she swung me around and made me fall on my ass! sexy!) and the next day in class someone was telling me she has said she wouldn't mind being my girlfriend. I really didn't know what to do about it. I was so formal. I asked her if it was true and made it into quite a solemn event. It only really lasted a few days, but then I always had a little bit of a thing for her.

Later on a classmate of mine Phil decided he liked her so, and we always had a little bit of healthy competition, but I don't think we ever actually told her. Phil had two amazing talents. One, he could draw all of the Garfield characters, including Odie, which basically made him an artistic genius in the eyes of Mrs. Sanders' class. Secondly, he was obsessed with Micheal Jackson. It was right around "Thriller" time, and he actually had a red vinyl jacket like Micheal. And he could do the moonwalk, and I mean he could really do it!

One day we were listening to PYT on a portable tape player in the lunchroom and he said, "That's what Stacy is, she's a Pretty Young Thing." I was so shocked at the maturity of his romantic vision and was a little abashed at my assessment of her as merely "cute".

I saw her all through High School and she always looked pretty good, but she ended up kind of in a higher social strata (and I really managed to be at the bottom of every social strata in High School believe me) and was pretty inaccessable. I saw her years later when I went back to Rockford, IL. I went with a friend to some bar with a stupid name for quarter beers and saw her with her hair all crimped and looking kind of like a coked-out partier. Wierd.

lovingly or haphazardly posted at 10:54 AM

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Thursday, September 19, 2002

gramma painting
Author of this post is ~ tiny daniel ~ tiny daniel


I was going to write a post about people having really bad paintings by their grandparents or other family members. I remember a big painting with a bunch of weird earthtone Star Trek Enterpise lookin' shapes hung up in our house done by our Grandma Torgerson. I really liked that painting, but at the same time, even as a kid I had to admit it was really ugly.

My sister went to New York to practice buddhism full time, and so I got a bunch of her sentimental stuff, including a painting by my gramma t. Only about 4x6 inches, it actually looked pretty darn bad, and I was going to write a post about it, but somehow, the scan and jpeg compression improved it a lot and now it's time for this painting to begin it's charming digital life here on the tinyblog.

I think I want to follow up on this one. Do me a favor and send me any scans of paintings (especially particularly bad or particularly good ones) by your family members. I might provide an upload form for this purpose, but for the moment, please just email them as attachments to

I'd like to display a few...any comments on your family's art will be much appreciated.

lovingly or haphazardly posted at 10:14 PM

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Monday, January 13, 2003

wrath of the math
Author of this post is ~ tiny daniel ~ tiny daniel

It is a known fact, that even just the odd numbered problems is still a lot of goddamn problems. I've put in about 3 hours on my current set of assignments and I'm only about halfway done!

Too much homework...or I suck at maths. You decide.

At least my intense Business teacher, Verna Swanljung (swan-yung) likes me.

"GDP. Can anyone tell me what the G.D.P. is? Anyone? Besides Daniel? The point is that you're supposed to read the assignment before you come to class so we can have a discussion about it."

Oh, and by the way, the answer to the subtraction vocabulary question is:
minuend - subtrahend = difference.

Crazy...has anyone ever heard of that before?

lovingly or haphazardly posted at 02:58 PM

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Thursday, January 16, 2003

whoever thought 90% of my posts would be about math?
Author of this post is ~ tiny daniel ~ tiny daniel

Well...finally I'm about out of time. My maths test is in one hour. I'll let you know how I think I did afterwards. I would have liked to have spent more time on it, but without inserting an extra hour into each day I just don't think it's possible. A guy's gotta eat!

2(3m - 1) + 5 > 8m - 7

Update: I think I did pretty well. We'll see on Tuesday.

lovingly or haphazardly posted at 05:06 PM

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Friday, January 17, 2003

give me a political entity I can sleep to
Author of this post is ~ tiny daniel ~ tiny daniel

I woke up this morning and Rzan was all punchy, providing me with some suggestions on how I could have gone to sleep earlier the night before and ribbing me about anything she could think of at 7:30 am. Well maybe letting the alarm go off 8 times had some kind of effect on her circuits.

On 3.5 hours of sleep, the only thing I want to do during today's presentation of the various parts of the European Union is pass out. But that doesn't really fly in Verna Swanljung's class. The last time I tried to nap I got a swift, "Daniel, are you alright?" in the commanding Verna Voice.

That was on a day where we were discussing something completely scintillating, like business in foreign markets. Today I think we're talking about the interdependance of the various branches and treaties that make up what people call the EU and I'm wondering if I can possibly just sorta lean back in my seat and somehow take a nap with my eyes open.

Maybe I'll wake up when they get to the Treaty of Nice.

lovingly or haphazardly posted at 11:19 AM

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Tuesday, January 21, 2003

more wisdom of natasha kholomiyeva
Author of this post is ~ tiny daniel ~ tiny daniel

A couple more gems from my maths teacher...

People were complaining about how many different confusing properties there were, and how it was hard to know which ones to apply in complex problems.

Natasha says, "Only practice can help you. If you do it 10,000 times...then, maybe you get it."

Then someone asked her why they should learn all these rules that simplify a math problem into less steps, instead of just doing the problem the long, familiar way they were used to.

Natasha says, "It is better to learn the rule and do the problem in less steps. Because, with each step it is so easy to make one mistake. Maybe two."

lovingly or haphazardly posted at 08:25 PM

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