Triple Sized Issue! Back to the Edu-Mountain!

That flabricorn is in bad shape.  Sad, really.

That flabricorn is in bad shape. Sad, really.

This is a more art intensive post than most, with three pieces for the trouble. I could have gotten two to three days ahead, but…no, that’s not the direction that I went. Fair warning…it is possible that when the new school year starts next week, there may be a rare missed posting, just because of the schedule change. Thankfully, it isn’t a lack of content…I have a whole lot that I want to get down on paper.

Obviously, the metaphor of the above artwork is pretty straightforward. For one…it’s time for me to put back the summer clothes, and take out the work related clothes. I’ve gotten some new work clothes, and am happy with the increased amount of dignity that I’m trying to bring to the table. In an environment with less chaos and violence, I’m going to try, just a little bit, to look more “teacher like.” The page also deals with a secondary problem…although my wardrobe has clear changes, the protagonist does not yet have a new uniform, for the upcoming job. At least my indecision has become a feature, a plot point.

Also, singularly unsubtle.

Also, singularly unsubtle.

Fairly frequently the idiom of the “high horse” is put to use in day to day language. Its meaning is to be disdainful or conceited, believing oneself superior to others, often by putting down large groups of people. It can deal with a mood or attitude of stubborn arrogance or contempt. It’s a pretty flexible meaning for someone who isn’t really that concerned with the feelings of others, but stuck in their own point of view, or paradigm. For once, that person isn’t me. Self awareness lets me know that yes, I can get in that position, and have been known to do so.

Still, as the school year starts, this whimsical depiction of the loneliness that some create, as a result of those kinds of self absorbed decisions, seemed needed. It applies to a large number of people that I know in education, a profession that actually promotes an attitude of willful independence in its practitioners, and tends to dilute the value of teamwork and professional relationships…except in the most structured and artificial fashions. I was thinking of many of those people, and the various guns that they have stuck to…and wondering what in fact, it might have cost them.

Not really my problem, to be honest. On the day of this post, I will be in a “professional development,” which is precisely that kind of artificial teamwork structure. I’m going to be meeting a bewildering number of people, and failing to remember much about them. The important procedures and processes for the start of the new school year will be revealed to me, which means I’ll have to pay a decent amount of attention and take notes.

Given the mass exodus from my old school, many of the teachers I know will be experiencing the same thing…if not today, then on Monday. The absence of a team is pretty new to me…and as the summer has gone on, I’ve realized that the new group of teachers that I have at my new school are well meaning, to be sure…but not the kind of team mates that I should count on for all that much.

In drawing the art, I wanted the design of the high horse to be whimsical…and the rider to be filled with disdain, looking down from the elevated perch. I also wanted the high horse itself to me sad and lonely, because of the separation that its very nature puts on itself, and its very voluntary rider. It takes real time to put that complicated chair on the high horse, people…and unlike the Pope’s Throne, it doesn’t make you infallible.

And for our last piece…

Lighting this was a nightmare.

Lighting this was a nightmare.

Remember that guy? From the beginning of the summer? Yeah…still handing out tasks, but not really doing much of the heavy lifting himself. That’s not subtle, is it? Rounding out the “team” we have a new character, Literature Amazon. Having no dialogue, we can’t really say that much about her, can we? Yes…that’s right. I’m feeling the same way.

All she has to do is “scout around.” Not too bad, right? Even if she’s a fairly new Amazon it’s a pretty simple job. Gelatinous Cubes, on the other hand…those are a chore. Just look at them!

Wait, what? I can hear you saying, “Wait, what?” on the subject of Gelatinous Cubes. Okay…for those that DON’T know…a “gelatinous cube” is a fictional monster from the Dungeons & Dragons game. It is described as a ten-foot cube of transparent gelatinous ooze (evil jello), which is able to absorb organic matter. By dissolving it, which is why you see all the floating pieces of gear in the artwork. The gelatinous cube is an invention of Gary Gygax, and first appeared in the “Monster Manual” (1977). It’s actually notable for Gygax creating it, rather than lifting it from outside sources and adapting it to a game setting, like the minotaur and dryad.

Being a cube that is a perfect ten feet on each side, it is specifically and perfectly “adapted” to its native environment, the standard, 10-foot by 10-foot dungeon corridors which were ubiquitous in the earliest Dungeons & Dragons adventures. It slides through dungeon corridors, absorbing everything in its path, digesting everything organic and secreting non-digestible matter in its wake. Contact with its exterior can result in a paralyzing electric shock, after which the cube will proceed to slowly digest its stunned and helpless prey.

Mr. Gygax had some issues, I think. Maybe not. Either way, it’s an obscure fantasy monster with a cult following. I don’t even remember how you were supposed to deal with the things…it’s evil jello, so maybe you could slice it up? Dunno.

Still…you will note that our hero does NOT have a proper fantasy setting weapon. She’s holding a Quidditch broomstick, which is a step up from the tennis racket she fought the Burger King with. I liked the broomstick because it was weirdly shaped. She may lug it around for a bit…who can say? She has it now because I figure among other unexpected suddenly assigned chores, I’ll have to do a fair amount of cleaning in my room today.

Still…it’s the start. This year will be pretty defining for me, of whether I want to continue as an educator, or not…and I’m giving the whole thing the best possible chance, in terms of evaluation. I want to get back to the things that I like about the job, and if that isn’t possible, to move on.

Right now, I’m feeling okay about it.

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