But my son's first seven years of school haven't been easy. The special education challenges have been tremendous and the stress it caused on our family over the years took its toll, especially the past three years. However, through those challenges, we worked hard, he especially.
Last year, my son attended Utterback Magnet Middle School in TUSD. For the most part he loved it; it ended up being a great supportive environment for him to help him become a better advocate for himself. He left the trappings of a self-contained classroom behind early in the year and realized he could excel academically—honor roll with straight A's at the end of the year. (Yep, I am a damn proud mama.)
The problem, as my son stretched and grew, ended up not being teachers, or special education confinements, but bullying. It started to become physical and it really changed my son's outlook on school—although he remained committed to keeping his grades up. But with resolve he made it clear he didn't want to go back to Utterback the following year. He wanted a change. We did, too.
My ex-husband and son took a couple of days to look at schools, though the final decision was based on a whim—change districts. It seemed like a good idea. Move into the district, give him a chance to start over without the IEP and the history it brings from school to school, and hope to hell this is going to work.
Yesterday, we published a short item about Gio Taco, the latest venture to come from the folks at Metzger Family Restaurants, who are also responsible for Jax Kitchen and The Abbey.
The plan, according to the release announcing the forthcoming restaurant, is to move into east end of Congress St., in Downtown Tucson, where Gio will be producing their own spin on tacos — apparently, tacos "without rules." I mean, why not? Seis, for an example, ventures away from the traditional Sonoran-style taco, working hard to create something that's fun and tasty as hell. I say that there's room for more than one place that doesn't want to serve simple chicken or carne asada tacos in this town.
But it seems that some of you would disagree. From the Tucson Weekly Facebook page:
Great, one more place trying to reinvent something that doesn't need to be reinvented and one more place I shant be setting foot in, ever, along with everything else in the shiny, new downtown. Now get off my lawn. xoxox - Dave, part of the "Keep Tucson Shitty" crowd...
This is exactly what downtown Tucson does not need. Seems like besides another "foodie" place on east Congress, someone would open a damn diner downtown, especially on west congress, near The Fox Theatre, and fill a much needed niche left by the closure of The Grill.
Those are definitely
very good points opinions.
But here's the thing about downtown's dearly-departed Grill, and all of its similarly departed, scruffy, "character"-filled places: they closed for a reason — and many reasons, in some cases.
Let's focus on Grill: As great a place as it was, as much character as it had, and as good as the food was (particularly for being one of the few options that was open at three in the morning) is that it was, in fact, a shithole.
The food was, putting it nicely, inconsistent (a hamburger cooked to medium probably should not be dripping with blood). One of the things that people seemingly loved the most about the place, the tater tots, could easily be found in the freezer section of your nearby Fry's or Safeway. The bathrooms didn't lock. Spotting a giant cockroach crawling around wasn't an uncommon occurrence. At one point in time, the sewer lines under the restaurant broke, filling the kitchen with sewer water.
And you people who supposedly loved this place, who wish it was still around, who wanted it kept shitty, so you can continue living your artsy, bohemian, arrested adolescence? You're the reason it closed:
If we had more nights like last night, maybe we wouldn't be closing. Keep it coming, the countdown continues.
— Grill Tucson, Nov. 21, 2011
That was from the first night after Grill announced its impending closure. (A personal note: My then-girlfriend and I were among the last people to be served before the place finally shut down, because I just had to spend a little more time at the first part of this city that I fell in love with. I stole one of the newer paper menus that replaced the amazing laminated turquoise menus. It still sits on my desk at home.)
Grill, and its ilk, are and were great places. They were accepting, they were comfortable and, most importantly, they were convenient.
But they failed, because they treated customers terribly. Because nostalgia has a shelf life. Because "shitty" should be an ambiance, not the reality of the place.
Tucson should not be burnt out, filled with cracks, crawling with roaches, covered in drunken, paint-marker-and-chalk scrawls, just because that's what we remember.
Tucson is a vibrant, passionate, scrappy community. We shouldn't be tearing down the local people who love the soul of this city, who are trying to build up new, interesting projects to tie into the hardworking, local feel that we love. The heart of this city, the grit, will always be here — partially because you can never completely get rid of sand and dirt — but the shittiness doesn't have to be.
Y'know, that might just be it. It's not that Tucson is shitty, and that we should keep it that way. It's that the crowd that wants Tucson to remain shitty is, in fact, shitty in and of themselves.
Well, you might want to get out of the way, guys. Whether you like it or not, Tucson is changing — the skeletons of developments rising around town are proof of that. So you've got a few options: work to maintain the grit in Tucson's soul as the changes happen, or stay shitty.
You might want to be careful though if you take the latter path, because shit tends to get stepped on, scraped off, thrown away, and crumble into dust.
In Tucson, we complain about the heat every summer even when we know that come July, it will be hot. We live in the Sonoran Desert. We live in Tucson. During the summer it's hot. That's the way it is always going to be.
But this NSFW video making its way through the internets captures the internal conversations we have with ourselves every summer. In Moldy Pueblo speak, that's "I am not a lizard" (and while wiping sweat from our necks while watching a band at Club Congress: "Why do I live in Tucson? Why did I leave my house tonight?").
(Note: Last week, when writing about the Jodi Arias Lifetime Original Movie Whoops! He Fell On the Knife Over and Over Again or whatever the hell it's called, I used the phrase "this is fucking stupid."
I would like to apologize for using that sentence — not because it is offensive to those who have tender language sensibilities, but because repeated use of that phrase tends to lessen its impact...that, and I have a self-imposed quota for the seven words you can't say on television that I may soon go over. With that said...)
According to the widely-read, nationally-known food blog Eater, there is a rumor that a reality television series based on the exploits of Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, owners of Amy's Baking Company in Scottsdale, is in the works.
This news comes via a report from Radar Online, who writes that an unnamed source claims that Cineflix (the producers of such television gold as American Pickers and Property Virgins) is "the most serious production company trying to secure Amy and Samy." God help them.
More from Radar Online:
“Amy and Samy are all for it because they feel like it’s the only way to keep their restaurant open.”
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Amy and Samy’s appearance on Kitchen Nightmares was the most memorable in the show’s history, and after an onslaught of online hate mail and death threats directed towards the couple it was revealed that Amy is a convicted felon, Samy is currently facing deportation, the restaurant had a history of Health Department violations and business continues to fail — making them reality TV gold.
“Right now their agent is just looking out for them to make sure they get the best deal, so they want to wait on signing with Cineflix to make sure they’ve seen all the deals on the table,” the source told Radar.
“But no doubt, you will be seeing Amy and Samy on TV again sometime in the future. They need to generate money and publicity to keep their business going, otherwise customers just dropping in because of their Kitchen Nightmares appearance will fizzle and their restaurant will go under.”
This is fucking stupid.
A post on NBC News' Today blog that identified something now known as "Pinterest stress" has me really stressed right now. Seriously, folks, I guess women in particular, can't we agree at this point in our lives to tell domestic harmony to go fuck itself? Hasn't the ex-con Martha Stewart taught us anything?
I had to turn to my coworker, David Mendez, to make sure I'm not even close to suffering from Pinterest stress (first you actually have to have a Pinterest account, right?).
"David, I don't come across as someone who cares about domestic harmony, right?" I asked.
He paused for a while, then answered, "No, Mari, far from it."
"Whew. Thanks," I said.
Thinking he insulted me, which is pretty normal at Weekly World Central, Mendez followed up saying, "It's because you have other things to be concerned about."
Yes. Yes. I do and so should lots of other people, evidently.
You can read all about Pinterest stress here. A snippet:
For many moms, social media is both a blessing and a curse. We go to sites like Pinterest and Facebook for connection and inspiration — but all too often, the beautiful images of domestic harmony make us feel inadequate.
In our exclusive TODAY Moms survey of 7,000 U.S. mothers, 42 percent said that they sometimes suffer from Pinterest stress — the worry that they’re not crafty or creative enough. Symptoms include staying up until 3 a.m. clicking through photos of exquisite hand-made birthday party favors even though you’ll end up buying yours at the dollar store, or sobbing quietly into a burnt mess of expensive ingredients that were supposed to be adorable bunny cookies for the school bake sale.
“It tricks you into thinking that everyone is baking their own bread,” said Jenna Andersen, 28, a Palo Alto, Calif., mom of two, photographer and blogger behind the hilarious site Pinterest Fail, which chronicles Pinterest-inspired crafts and recipes gone oh-so-wrong. She’s still a fan of the site, but she’s learned not to let herself think that the artfully curated photos represent anyone’s reality. “Pinterest is largely a site of unrealized dreams.”
Los Angeles Times recently published an article titled "Eight things killing the Harlem Shake" which shows specific videos that are making the meme played out already.
The LA Times explains:
The Harlem Shake burst onto the scene last week, but already the poor meme is showing signs of looming death.
We're not saying the Harlem Shake will surely die, but unless some things change, it'll soon fall out of public favor. Here are eight reasons:
8. Sports teams are doing it.
7. They've become too extravagant.
6. Grandparents are doing it.
5. Even people in the videos don't even care anymore.
4. Don't go all film school (referring to UCLA's Harlem Shake).
3. Even Midwestern ad agencies are doing it.
2. It's not funny anymore.
1. The "Today" show has done it.
The article makes a good point about the trending videos. They're really being overdone. The worst two in the LA Times' list are the Florida Gators one, where the mascot starts with a awful, disturbing pelvic thrust that I thought would never end, and The Today Show's version of the Harlem Shake, where they wear Valentine's Day themed shirts and dance with hearts and throw roses up in the air. If it wasn't dying out before, it definitely is after that video!
I think my co-worker said it best a couple days ago when he asked, "Do you guys know what the Harlem Shake is? All I'm seeing are videos of one person dancing, then a bunch of people dancing. I don't get it."
That's exactly it! It really is that simple. Which is probably why so many people followed the trend, but also why it's dying out so soon. It's not a real dance, there is no point to it. And, just like when a radio station plays the same song over and over, or different radio stations play the same song too often, it's getting old!
While the UA's Harlem Shake around Brother Jed may have still been timely and fun, Wilbur and Wilma plan to lead the Harlem Shake at tonight's halftime show, joining the many who are killing the already overrated meme.
The U of A will be hosting a two-day Hip-Hop symposium this week to teach the community about the many faces of the culture in attempt to get rid of common stereotypes that are attributed to Hip-Hop.
Organizers argue that Hip-Hop goes beyond these stereotypes and should be discussed in an academic institution:
Thus, as researchers and educators, our view of hip-hop culture goes beyond the stereotypical gangster and drug cultures to incorporate this expressive medium's relationships and presences across different academic disciplines such as art, music, dance, language/poetry, religion, gender, culture, history, politics, marketing, fashion, sociology, management as well as film, radio, television and performance studies. Besides its commercial clout, hip-hop's role in challenging stereotypes, destabilizing and unsettling the meaning of blackness and bridging cultural divides in the USA and abroad, merits a place in serious academic discussions of how contemporary societies function.
Hats off to the event planners for reaching out to the community and trying to set the record straight about a culture that has been ignored or considered demeaning in the past.
Hip-Hop music, videos and movies that go mainstream are often those that display violence, drugs and sex, making it difficult to take the culture seriously. Its roots, which reflect a history of black oppression, have been buried and, at the surface, most only see negative connotations of what Hip-Hop is.
Not only have songs and movies tying Hip-Hop to violence, gangs and drugs allowed people to ignore the truth about the culture, they have also allowed these people to separate themselves from it. Such stereotypes allow people to see the struggles that Hip-Hop reflects as a struggle among blacks instead of one which we are all responsible for.
Hip-Hop is not just a negative, violent or demeaning culture. It is a cry for help. It is an expression of a way of life that surrounds us all. It is an artistic and talented culture that should not be ignored. All things in life balance good and bad aspects. In recent years main stream society hasn't seen this balance between the two when it comes to the Hip-Hop culture.
As far as the negative connotations, I think it's time we stop pointing fingers or ignoring the violence, drugs and gangs and instead ask ourselves why Hip-Hop has such a reputation. How can we change it? It's obviously a pattern, and it's obviously political. Society as a whole in the U.S. just needs to care enough to address the problems instead of isolating them. Of course, it's always easier to point fingers.
Embracing the positive, addressing the negative and bridging cultural gaps is what the Hip-Hop culture needs and it looks like the U of A is moving in the right direction.
"The Poetics & Politics of Hip-Hop Cultures" will take place Feb. 7 and 8 at the U of A Student Union Memorial Center and Poetry Center and is free and open to public.
The upcoming year seems to look pretty promising in terms of film; The Great Gatsby, The Reluctant Fundamentalist and The Spectacular Now (just to name a few) all seem rather promising as far as I'm concerned.
But it wouldn't be a well-rounded year without at least one flick with a bizarre storyline and even stranger cast. Enter Spring Breakers. In case you missed the trailer and don't have two minutes to waste, here's a brief synopsis:
Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine are four women in college who apparently like to spend most of their time sitting around in bikinis, hitting up saunas and calling each other derogatory names. When spring break rolls around, the four of them, all strapped for cash, end up being the only ones still on campus. Insistent on getting a change of scenery, they come up with a plan to earn a few bucks and get out of town for a while. Host a car wash? Nope. Get jobs like normal people? Not a chance.
They rob a restaurant.
Charles Harbutt, Departures and Arrivals continues through Sunday, Jan. 26. Visitors may examine unframed photographs chosen around… More