usually these kids are trying everything they can think of to either get my attention or get out of working, but yesterday they started taking the wonderful little think i like to call the california high school exit exam, a.k.a. eight-plus hours of peace for mr. miller. even though i'm covering 2 classrooms and running around a lot helping these poor little bastards, for the most part they are working their asses off, trying to pass. this welcome and encouraging (read: short lived) self-sufficiency and go-gettiveness (and silence) is awesome. yesterday and today i have:
1) looked for new jobs
2) read everything on the internet, ever (that the district servers allow me to see, anyways)
3) broken the high score on "super collapse 2" on my phone while in the bathroom
4) eaten a ton of donuts
5) listened to the sweet, sweet sound of silence; a sound the special educator rarely, if ever, hears unless 6 of the 8 kids in the class don't come to school for a day, which has happened, come to think of it
6) worked on this blog, and on raising my notoriety in the blogosphere, which i like to imagine as the atmosphere in that there are probably a few layers.
all this has given me the opportunity to think about a couple things, one good and one horrible.
for once in my god-forsaken life i'll fucking be able to go to the alternative press expo in san francisco, because it's finally not in the hazy months of january/february/march; months during which the days, i guess, seem to blend into a fuzzy, rainy mush and my memory turns firmly to shit. every summer i always say, "i should go to that again," and then promptly forget it. i got to work at one when i worked for slave labor graphics (which was a fun job except for the fact that i thought dan vado wanted to kick my ass [which my friend, joe, who still works there, said wasn't entirely untrue], and despite the best attempts of my fellow order-filling-packaging-mailing-out-bitch to make my time there miserable) and it was really neat. ever since, though, i've wanted to go and don't remember until the san diego comic-con comes around, which i've also managed to forget about until it's too late. in essence, i forget a lot.
but, yeah, so it's at the end of april this year so i'm totally going. last time i was there i managed to accidentally make fun of jhonen vasquez by trying to compliment him, and confused judd winick by saying hello. let's see what kind of damage i can do this time!
i've been reading a book about the massacre in nanking in the late 30's. i'll say this: "the rape of nanking," while an essential piece of reading, should NOT be read at bedtime. you know when a fucking NAZI is the voice of reason, chasing away soldiers who are trying to rape anything that's not nailed down (but now that i think about it i guess being nailed down wasn't even a mitigating factor; they actually nailed people down and raped them) something is fucking amiss. the japanese soldiers had killing competitions, seeing who could kill the most the quickest. ponds were so full of bodies the water disappeared. they bayoneted babies and tossed them into boiling water. they raped to death girls anywhere from aged 10 to 80, according to the author.
i wish i was making any of this up, but i'm not. well, some people think it's made up. there's a lot of back and forth between japanese scholars who either question the severity of the specifics or dismiss the event outright, but if even half of the story's true it's chilling, regardless, and well worth learning about.
in some passages, the way japanese soldiers are described in terms of their raping habits almost sound like cockroaches when the lights get turned on. i mean, jesus: the estimate is that they were raping around 1,000 women A NIGHT, which doesn't even account for the daytime raping! they were climbing over fences, breaking down doors, everything short of dressing like a woman and infiltrating the safe zone to get at the women. if it wasn't so creepy, and didn't so often turn into raping someone to death (emphasis mine because the idea of raping someone until they die is such a foreign one i really, honestly cannot imagine it), it would maybe be funny.
the really gross thing, though, is that although war crimes trials were held and executions happened, for the most part what happened in nanking got swept under the rug because of the US's desire to trade with japan and our distancing ourselves from communist china.