The Doom Meeting (Part Three)!

This is pretty much on the nose.

After the “success” of the first Virtual Zoom Meeting, suddenly this is now a Thing.  There will be a Virtual Faculty Meeting next Tuesday, and a Virtual Tenth Grade English Meeting.  This is apparently the new normal, where everything about school is over, except for the meetings.

The Tenth Grade English meeting is the most frustrating, since most of the Tenth Grade teachers refuse to do the same things.  As a result, I’m not really sure what, if anything, is gained from actually meeting, except to say that we had a meeting.  If that sounds dysfunctional to you, you have gotten it in one guess, True Believers.

In terms of the “Distance Learning,” about a quarter of my students are actually doing their assignments.  Honestly, that number is up from the beginning of the week, which is a good thing, but still isn’t really enough to make it fair or appropriate.  Especially with the Governor of California strongly suggesting that school might not come back into session at all this semester.

That’s a big deal, and I’m still wrapping my head around it.  In addition, all “non essential” businesses were just closed at midnight, for the state.  California is now pretty much on a state of “lockdown,” shutting down everything.

Like Cap, I’m grudgingly accepting the Virtual Meetings.  That’s what Panel Three is about.  Pretty obviously.

I’ve been working at weird compositions, exciting postures, and strange angles for the past few days, trying to expand my artistic repertoire, as it were.  I’ve also tried to vary the panel structure and order from my usual “three panel strip” format.

I’m wondering how long I can stay creative without any external input.  I’m also often thinking about what it might be like to be someone who can’t kill an hour a day drawing, and then another on digital processing and posting.  I think that our creative outlets are our best options right now, and would encourage all of you, Gentle Readers, to indulge in them.

As always…be excellent to each other.

The Doom Meeting (Part Two)!

Unexpected!

So yes…this is part two, about that virtual meeting.  Mostly because there isn’t a whole lot going on, and I am really trying out postures and multipanel compositions.  There just wasn’t enough that was revelatory in the meeting to carry us to a part two, or even a part three, as we will get tomorrow.

There were a few revelations, though.  For one…a few people “virtually” attended the Zoom meeting that pretty much haven’t made it to work this year.  That was interesting.  It made me wonder if they might also be picking up on the whole, “distance learning” idea, and suddenly engaging with their students.  Odd times, that.

The grading window for the report card was pushed back…but I had to mention it, administration did not.  Campus is, of course, closed…but a lot of teachers seemed not to realize that.  They were wanting to come in to pick up supplies.  It made me question where they thought they were going on the Last Friday, and what they thought would be happening.  Most services being provided to students are also interrupted and on hold, and that really brings into focus how much schools really do for the community.

There was a brief period in the meeting where out of classroom personnel attempted to give guidance in using our online systems to teach.  At that point, my phone exploded with private messages from them, seeking guidance and input.  I was pretty reticent, because that is all stuff that really should have been handled at any other time, and the staff has pretty much refused to embrace and/or learn.  It was the “last minute” approach that bothered me.  They could have reached out, say, BEFORE a real time meeting to get my input, not ask the equivalent of whispered questions during a presentation.

The Question and Answer segment afterward was repetitive…with similar questions from staff member to staff member, and no real answers.  That seems pretty indicative of the time period we are in, really.

Part Three tomorrow!  Stay tuned, and stay safe!

The Doom Meeting (Part One)!

A cliffhanger! We never do that!

Obviously, I have a lot of time on my hands.

So does everyone, I guess.  Still…that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an opportunity to have meetings that could just as easily be an e-mail with a series of links in it.  With the magic of the internet, and the reality of webcams in literally everything, it is now possible to have a virtual useless meeting, with everyone in their own homes, isolated.

That happened on a day that I call yesterday.

The whole idea was to use an app called Zoom, which allows digital teleconferencing from pretty much any device.  Hence the play on words in the title for today, and the Doombot wearing a tuxedo.

It had all the features of a meeting.  An agenda, a Powerpoint presentation that was screen shared, discussion of how the staff was a “family.”  It lasted for an hour and a half, and hypothetically there will be another one next week.

I could have done without it, really.  Part of the reason that I went to the trouble of figuring out how to attend was that it was novel and different.  That’s pretty important to me right now, because without work, or anything open, I’m pretty bored.  Sure…I can spend time drawing, or “laddering up” my status on “Magic: Arena,” or reading…those are all good things.  I like being productive, though.  I like feeling like there’s some kind of importance to getting up in the morning.

That Doombot Tool was fun to draw, which is why we got three big panels of him.  He’s done, though, and the reveal in tomorrow’s art will make clear why.  I am introducing a new Bad Guy, which is definitely fine.  Hopefully as fun to draw, we will see.

I also felt like I should make Jace useful for something besides just using his powers to get coffee.  He is a wizard and a planeswalker, so he should be able to zap things.  “Prodigal Sorcerer” is a card that can zap things, so Jace should have some kind of blue zap as well, I would think.

On that note…back to the drawing board.  Be safe, True Believers!

Flerken Out Big Time!

Some days, you just shouldn’t leave your Fortress of Togetherness.

So, I didn’t draw until late Monday night of the first day of the School District “Remote Learning” Era.  I can say with certainty that few of my students logged into the digital system, and the only assignments that I actually received were ones from last week.

I spent the day watching the news, which was a bad idea.  On Sunday, I spent the day in the real world, outside.  It was pretty creepy, and “apocalyptic” as my friend described it.  No one on the streets, stores not really open, or if they were, missing goods because of hoarding.  It didn’t do much to improve my mood, or my faith in humanity.

I didn’t really want to draw for much of Monday, because of the really depressing nature of the content, and everything that was coming in towards me.  Over Sunday, restaurants and bars, gyms, most places where people gather to have any social interactions were shut down by the city.  It’s now an imposed lockdown, with most of the things that make our society completely shut off.

That might be a necessary thing, but it isn’t a good thing.

It is definitely not a good thing for the economy, as demonstrated by the three thousand point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Monday.  The market plummeting, people working less hours…it’s also pretty grim for society.  There are tons of people just one paycheck away from Serious Trouble, and in these times, hours are being slashed.  Less money is being made.

It’s pretty scary even for people in a stable state of affairs, like I am.  Many people are freaking out, being cut off from normalcy.

So the weird creature that Cap is dealing with is a Flerken, which also gave rise to the title of the post. Flerken (thank you, Marvel Comics) resemble Earth cats in appearance and behavior. They can lay up to 117 eggs (weird) and possess many tentacles that can extend from their mouths (as you can see…the cat like part is in the lower right corner). Their bodies also hold pocket realities, bubbles of space and time that exist in other worlds. You know, to hold all the dangerous tentacles inside.

That’s actually a cool “side effect power” the cat like aliens have. The sub-spaces within themselves can also be used as a means of instantaneous transportation; the process can be messy to say the least, however. You know…since you were inside an alien cat’s digestion dimension.

Lastly, a scratch from a Flerken causes severe tissue damage to non invulnerable humanoids, as Nick Fury found out when a claw swipe from a Flerken to his left eye resulted in scarring and permanent loss of function. At least that’s how it is these days.

So yeah…that’s the subject of this post, really.

See, in terms of posture, Cap is defending herself, but only that.  She’s not mad, she’s not hurling the Flerken into space, or slamming it into the Moon.  No Mega-Suplex.  She’s just making sure that the Alien Cat’s freak out doesn’t hurt her, or put her into some sort of Digestion Dimension, which would be inconvenient.

We kind of have to deal with people losing it with anxiety in the same way.  Not lash out, and also not punish them for their freak outs, even if they are inconvenient.  People are just scared, like that weird little alien cat.

It was pretty fun to draw, and came together quickly.

Emergency Measures.

So…yeah.

This happened.  On Friday, the announcement was made that school will not be in session for at least two weeks.  I’m supposed to deliver content, assignments, and do grading remotely, via the internet, using our Learning Management System called “Schoology.”

So on Friday, I packed a few things, got what I needed together, locked up, and left.  In all probability, it will be more than two weeks.

Obviously, I’m pretty critical of leadership on this at the highest levels.  It would be comforting to have someone in charge that I thought cared, or at least respected.

Cap’s key to the Fortress of Togetherness is more modern, but equally large.  Kind of makes you wonder what her key ring is like, huh?

Be excellent to each other, True Believers.

“I’ve Come To Bargain…!”

Cap is still pretty mad at lower management.

Yep.  We are officially there.

Things have escalated quickly.  Admin now only speaks to the staff directly through e-mails.  The Union, UTLA, has demanded the immediate, pro-active cancelling of classes in the District.  “Care Packages” of sanitary wipes, cleansers, tissues, and hand sanitizer have NOT been distributed, despite being on campus.

Most importantly, that bathroom is still out of order.

Neither the Principal, nor any lower admin has yet responded to any inquiries on the subject.  I’ll admit, they are a little busy, but this is a Big Deal, given the situation.

I guess that’s fine.  As I think it through, it seems like on some level, I was being almost taunted into reacting in a way that was hardcore.  I’ve been trying not to…what with the whole “I’ll send some e-mails, make some phone calls, etc…”

I’m to the point, however, where it’s just not right, and needs to be dealt with.  Working conditions need to be up to par, and healthy.  Arguably, that’s something the Union should be all about, but weirdly, they seem to be not really stepping up to the plate.  Perhaps they are too busy trying to hold press conferences…I wouldn’t know.

I do know that it was definitely time to say and do something on my own campus.  A virtual “line in the sand,” if you will.  Hence, the need to make very formal complaints about the lack of appropriate restroom and hygiene facilities on my current school campus.

Obviously, Cap’s destructive tantrum in the art reflects that.

Should things not go as intended…that is, an immediate attempt to rectify the situation, things will need to escalate further.  Since I’m actually not just STARTING from “nuclear,” that’s really still possible.  That’s a pretty unusual feeling for me.

In a perfect world, the steps already taken will result in some kind of conversation, which for me will be pretty @#$%ing one sided.  My idea of “coming to bargain” pretty much means, “do what I’m telling you to do and fix the faculty bathrooms, or reap the whirlwind, bro…”

We will see what today holds.  The art, at least, was cathartic.

Sink Or Swim…?

That guy should be able to take a hit. His head is on fire, which should make him kinda tough…

Cap is making a point here…hitting that Dark Bureaucrat with a non functioning sink in a janky, unkempt bathroom.  A pretty direct point.

My district keeps sending out “directives” related to the COVID-19 coronavirus health issue.  One of the most important that they focus on is the importance of hygiene in prevention, and that we should wash our hands often, and for twenty seconds at a time.

At the first meeting about this (last week) with a video from the district and a High Priority speech from the Principal, that was stressed completely.  At the same meeting, it was mentioned that one of the Faculty Bathrooms had a faulty sink, rendering that impossible.

I mentioned all of this in yesterday’s post.

On Wednesday, however, the bathroom upstairs in the building that my room is underneath had a problem as well.  And the next closest bathroom beyond that (for faculty) wound up with a clogged toilet.  In other words, in the midst of this health problem, not only wasn’t the first of the issues being repaired, but rapidly new issues were cropping up.  Lines were forming of teachers during the brief times that they were able to use the bathrooms at all.

I ran into the Union Co Chair, and he was irate.  He placed a second “job ticket” into the system about the sink, and I wrote another e-mail to the administration.

We received an email as a staff, marked urgent, later in the evening.  It was a set of new directives, banning large gatherings like staff meetings and so forth, as a safety measure, and simultaneously reminding everyone to wash their hands often, and observe good hygiene.  This was sent to us by the principal.

So…the sink is now a major sticking point to me, and a few other teachers.  There is some serious anger about it.  I feel like it is time (I’ve given it a week) to engage one more time in dialogue, and should nothing happen, so what I usually do, and contact outside oversight.  I’ve been trying to avoid that, because this isn’t that hard a thing.

It’s just getting a plumber to fix things.  I hear advertisements for that on my way to work.

Today will be the “litmus test” on this.  Either things get done, and facilities are repaired, or I’m going to have to go to the district level looking for assistance, and lodge a Williams complaint (basically a complaint that the facilities are in disrepair to the point of hazard).  Given the staff to bathroom ratio, OSHA will probably be on that list of outgoing mails.  I’ve learned from past experience, that it helps to make sure that there is a LOT of pressure.

The squeakiest wheel gets the grease, after all.

I don’t want to get to that point, however.  I really don’t.

It’s all about a sink, and the VP at our school over Maintenance issues will be the one to get smacked with the responsibility for the sink, and other problems.  Hence, Cap smacking that Dark Suit with an actual janky sink.  It seemed both visceral, and also directly to the point.  It was an interesting composition to draw, and I did the panels pretty hastily, more trying to get the flow and form, than much of anything else.

My friend said to me about it, “I guess this is how we live now.”

Not if I can help it.