Breaking Bad and such

7 Sep

Ok, ok, ok.  I am vaguely addicted to the TV show, Breaking Bad.  I’m watching it on Project Free TV’s website where you can, well, watch TV shows.  I need to watch about 20 more episodes I think to be caught up.  Luckily, I have the time.  Ha, bitter ha.

The New Yorker recently did an article on the show, http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/television/2012/08/27/120827crte_television_nussbaum which is spoilery if you haven’t seen the later seasons which I haven’t but I only skimmed the piece.   The article notes rightly that the show is addictive but depressingly so.  True indeed.  The main character, Walt White,  becomes brutal very quickly and becomes more so each episode.  It’s also violent and in an upside down way, kind of glorifies dealing crystal meth.  What it does get brutally right is the impossibility of paying for health care by many, many people in the U.S.  White originally gets into the cooking and dealing meth business in order to pay for medical treatment that he needs.  Yikes.  Still, oddly addictive.  Great acting, etc.

And glory be, there is even part of a song sung by The Be Good Tanyas in an episode.   Divine.  Pal Tracy knows the lead singer of the BGT and years ago she introduced me to her – they’re all from Vancouver.

“I love your music,” I sputtered, “And my friend in the psych ward listens to it over and over.”

“We get that a lot,” said the singer.

I sputtered a bit more.  If you don’t know their music, google I say.  They’re not together anymore unless they have changed that recently.

I always sputter around the famous.  About 10 years ago I waited in line at what was the Virgin store downtown in order to have Jann Arden sign a copy of her then latest CD.

After more than an hour I finally made it to the front and there she was in all her Jann-ness.

“Hi,” she said.

Sputter, sputter. mumble.

“Uh, my friend and I took a really depressed friend to your concert and she totally loved it.

“Yes,” she said, “Lots of depressed people come to my concerts.”

Sputter.

Oh geez – dating myself here – but back in the 1980s when Michael Damian was huge on the Young and the Restless, he was touring backwater Winnipeg with his band.  I was writing for the University of Manitoba’s paper at the time and scored an interview.  I don’t remember but I think the article I wrote was pretty bad.  Anyway, I got to watch him rehearse a bit and interview him.  I still have the photo of us together!  Sputter.

A couple of years later in the 80s I followed two 21 Jump Street actors into a store on Robson Street.  Not Johnny Depp sadly. 

Got back from Hornby on Sunday and I’ve diligently e-mailed out my resume to ESL schools that seem a bit less torturous.  Haven’t heard back yet but these things take time.  And as I’ve noted, it is the slow slow season.  I’m living off of my savings now and trying not to be like, ‘holy cow, I am living off of my savings.’

B. College.  Earlier, Director of Studies C. interviewed me about possible work there.  Uh huh.  We discussed wage and as the school was just starting up – a subsidiary of another established school  – C. was telling me how someone with my experience totally deserved at least$XX/hour.  Wow, I thought, how unusual in ESL for a school to get that.  There were some issues getting the school going and by the time they needed me I was UBCing.  I contacted C. again this week. Well, said C., there are many teachers who will work for $X hour now so, you know, we don’t need you.  It’s what the market can bear, he went on. Uh yes, so much for getting the value of ESL teachers.  Yikes.

C’s not alone though – although their wage now is actually below market standard and the same wage I STARTED with 13 years ago.  And yet teachers are lining up to teach there because, well, because I imagine they need a job. 

“They seem quite happy to work for $X,”  C. said. 

As long as ESL teachers are willing to accept crappy wages and crappy working conditions this will not change.  Luckily, I’m not having to actually turn down jobs that offer that low of a wage because nobody’s really hiring right now.  When they are again in the spring, I’m sure I too will be desperate enough to help keep the industry down by accepting a low wage.

In an e-mail back to C, I said how hard it is to go from basically $48/hour at UBC to what is being offered at schools downtown.

And the corporation?  Any new teachers they hire are getting $18/hour.  That may seem like a lot but remember, a teacher is paid for contact hours only – so at most, 25 hours a week. But a teacher works at least 40 hours a week prepping and so on so it really is a full time job.  Yes, $1,500/month or so is better than no money a month but not yet, not yet.

“They seem happy to have the work,” said an insider I know.  Sigh, indeed.

I’ll find out in the next couple of weeks if my Langara evening ESL Business Writing class is a go or not – they need at least 6 students in the class.  That will be once a week for 8 weeks.  That’s an excellent wage but only 20 hours total.  Nonetheless, nice.

I’ve got all of my transcripts in the mail now – turns out my GPA at the University of Manitoba was 3.48.  Woohoo.  Mind you, I did the last year as a visiting student at SFU and the U of M didn’t take into account those marks in figuring out the GPA – they do now but didn’t then.  Woohoo!  Those marks would have definitely brought it all down.  I need to go next week up to UBC (SNIFFLE) and have these documents certified – seems the Admin. Manager of ELI has an official stamp and she’ll sign them for me for free. Nice of her – a notary public would be$20 a document. 

I have until Oct. 29 I think to apply to get into the online Master in TESOL from the Universsity of Southern Queensland in Australia.  The course would start November 13th.  Tres expensive as I said and it will probably take me, for both financial and cognitive reasons, at least 3 years to finish the thing.  It’s 8 courses, no dissertation, woo hoo.  I hear mixed reviews from those who have done it/are doing it.  “Basically,” said one person, “The university wants your money.” True but it is accredited and there is no application fee.

Sorry if I’m repeating myself.  Hmmm, probably am, probably am.

I realize that working on the Masters or even getting the Masters doesn’t give me a thing at UBC – whoa it is competitive there.  Some folks I know with the worshipped Masters in TESOL didn’t get a job there this fall, so great was the competition, so few were the jobs.  Those folks will now be ahead of me in line for the next set of short programs that run Feb-March.  Short programs run Feb.-March and June-August at UBC.  Of that, I’m guaranteed I think the 3 weeks in August which is always busy.  Hmmm, just need to fill 49 more weeks.  Well, say, minus a month for vacation.  okay, I just need to fill 46 more weeks of the year!

All of this unstructured alone time – not the best, that is for sure.  I get into kind of a bored coma and then when I am around people, I kind of forget how to interact.  Oy.

Hmmm.

Oh my I have repeated myself!  Well, thanks for bearing with me.  Very kindly.

The sun is shining brightly, not a cloud in the sky.  A bit of late summer.

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