Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year

Well, I suppose with 2009 here, I should stop pretending that I don't have time to write. I know I haven't written anything here in two weeks, but as my breaks nears its end, it shall all return. Tomorrow I'll have another entry on Adventist Education (The Social Aspect Part I). Also, some potential last words will make a reappearance. But for now, it is almost 2 am, and I must sleep. Happy New Year, everybody. See you tomorrow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry

But really, there's not a reason to stop making me angry. I take this break from my Adventist Education series to contemplate how utterly not wrathful I can be. I have a class in which students are horrible, disrespectful, little whelps that I can't imagine being successful in life if they act outside of my class like they act inside of my class. And it grew today. I now have 27 kids in the class that should be capped at 20. Last year, the same classes were never larger than 15. It doesn't bother me so much, but it is overwhelming often.

As for me being angry, it frustrates me more to not know how to take that anger out. I'm a sulker, a brooder. I take life as it is, laugh off what is annoying, and write off the infuriating as something that can not be helped and only complete ignoramuses will ever actually be so ridiculous. Nevertheless, I am trapped with these ignoramuses for one class period a day. I keep expecting to pop, explode, scream...anything. But nothing happens. I don't know where the line is or what I should do when that line is crossed.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Education: The Morality Perspective

For my education series, I plan on alternating between positive and negative days. So, here's a more bask-like perspective.

Whereas my education experience kept me from a lot of harmful and potentially life-altering situations, the message to a lot of students was one that was more dangerous than it could have been. The reason to not drink, have sex, do drugs, or pee on people is that it is not moral. And even if the logic is sound, there is no way to prove morality or fully show the consequences.

In connection to yesterday's post, I know many people who, once they were free of the clutches of church-mandated service, do all they can to show their churches how wrong they were. I had a lengthy debate with a friend last summer whose point of view focused on how the church and school condemned so many people for silly reasons. And with his discovery and absolute love of beer, he was doing his part to show that he needed no religion to tell him what was right and wrong.

He was right, of course. There is no church that can determine what is moral and what is not. Churches are, after all, groups of people who follow what they believe is the word of God in a common way that seems correct. I don't think I'll find much argument in saying that morality comes from a connection with God, not attendance in church. This friend, however, saw God and church as practically the same thing, and in throwing out one, he seems to have thrown out the other.

I wish that Adventist education would require more balance. It seems trivial to say, "This is what we believe, but really, morality is not established by us." But people need to know that it's not the drugs that keep you from the kingdom, it's the addiction that leaves you craving another hit instead of Christ. It isn't drinking that separates us from God, it's relying on the liquid courage to get through life instead of the strength of the Almighty. It isn't the sex that locks the the pearly gates, leaving us stranded, it's knowing that it can damage our relationships and not caring.

It is truly sad that people have dug into their ruts from spite. It's pathetic that people shift focus from a huge Creator to a steeple and think that He is responsible for their actions. I wish that people would re-evaluate why they have such contempt for legislated morality and move on to forgiveness.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Education: My Addiction Perspective

Throughout the years, I have been stuck, against my will, in many discussion with people as they debate the merits of private education--specifically, Adventist education. In these debates I often defend the cause of what is often referred to as "Christ-Centered Education." So, today I want to take the time to talk specifically about why I loved my experience at Campion Academy.

With time, I have recognized myself as a person with great cravings. Whether for foods or entertainment, my desires come fast and strong, leaving me to find the quickest way to satisfy my hunger. More recently, I can talk myself out of satisfying some of these (Ben and Jerry's is not worth that much money. or Log off now. Live an actual life). And what this all breaks down to is the fact, that I was kept away from many things that could have sparked a number of other cravings.

When I went to school, the idea of drugs and alcohol were so far from my perceived reality that I was certain that nobody ever really indulged in such revelry. Later, I found that one of my best friends frequently frolicked about in a stupor of some kind, but I had no clue. As far as I was concerned, drugs and drinking were not just for losers, but you had to be a weird, junkie-type of individual to even get the stuff.

This all plays a huge role for me. Since I figured any such thing was impossible to come by, I never thought of using or abusing any of it. The joy came when I got old enough to realize that coming in contact with any of the aforementioned substances might have created in me a craving that I may still face.

This is not the view of many. I have a handful of good friends that love their substances and they curse the church and the school system for treating these substances as pure evil (this while revealing anecdotes of how they were so wasted...then something happened...and it was so funny...but it's not funny now...because we aren't in a stupor). For me, it's not about the rights and wrongs of drugs and drunking--it's about keeping myself away from something that can become an addiction. From what I know of me, I could be swept away to a magical world of incoherence and fumbling about from which I would have to fight the rest of my life.

On this topic alone, I could go nearly forever as I recall conversations, circumstances, and friends gone stupid. But I will close it off here. Adventist education kept me away from things that could have hooked me for life. In doing so, I can honestly say that I have never had a drink or a puff of anything. As a brilliant friend of mine has said before at a get together, "What's great is that we have this much fun, and it doesn't require us to be wasted." For this mentality, I am thankful for Adventist education.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

Hurray! Free time!

I have meetings at the district office, so I don't have to go in until later. So, as mentioned last week, the story of my being locked out of my house.

It was cold. The first snowfall, actually. Amy had left early to go exercise before work. I was trying to hustle along as the week had been leaving piles of work for me to sort through. I was doing well, getting out of the house a good ten or fifteen minutes earlier than usual. As I closed the door, I remember thinking that I had better close it tightly because it sometimes doesn't want to latch. I yanked quite hard. Satisfied with my secure home, I began down the steps toward the garage, feeling my pockets as I went. As I patted each leg, the jingle and jangle that I have become accustomed to was not to be heard.

"Oh, no."

I leapt back to the door to see if I had, maybe, not secured it as well as I had hoped--no luck. It was not yet 7:00, and nearly every house was still dark. As I looked up and down the street, wondering who to wake up, I saw a man come out of his house and begin scraping his windshield.

"Hurray, hurrah!"

I shuffled over there, but he had made it back inside his house before I got there. I had seen him many times before, but never talked to or introduced myself to him. So I stood, knock, knock, knockin' on Tahim's door. He opened and said, "Good morning."

"Hi," I said. "We've not met. I'm Cale, and I locked myself out of my house."

He invited me in and gave me his cell phone so I could call my wife. She didn't answer. She was probably just ending her routine or maybe showering off. Either way, her voice mail was not a welcome message.

"Is she going to call back?" Tahim asked.

"She will after a bit, but it's cool. She'll call my..." I remembered that my phone was in my house with keys. "Dang it."

"Just keep mine, then."

I had never thought of cell phones in this way. You can let somebody have it for a while and it will be useful wherever they go. But I instantly thought of people abusing the privilege. The thought had either never occurred to Tahim, or it didn't bother him. He then told me that he needed to take his daughter to school, and that I should make myself comfortable. So I sat in his house for a good twenty minutes with nobody else there--it's a weird thing to do if you've never been given the chance.

At this point, when I was telling my students, some of them asked if I snooped around or mentioned how easily I could have stolen something...ugh. Brilliant idea. I could take his stuff and sit outside my house where I wouldn't be able to stash the stuff.

Anyhow, he came back and we got to talking about religion and how people ruin religion's name by taking it in the wrong direction and turning it into something it's not supposed to be. We spent a good half hour talking before my wife made it home.

Despite taking 40 minutes to drive to school and missing my first class, my day was great because I knew that humanity was alive across the street.

He's totally getting special Christmas cookies this year.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Followed a Truck Today

The aforementioned truck had a license plate that read "Weener."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Coming up for Air

I don't want to say that this week has been crazy busy because that's just a thing that people say regardless of their level of business. But I don feel very rushed for time due to things that must be addressed. So here's a short bit about what's been on my mind and what worthwhile things have happened to me. These will both be written about in more detail when I get some breathing space and time.

1. Adventist Education.
It's a topic that fascinates and discourages me. As a teacher who has no children, I feel my view is unique. Therefore, I want to analyze more fully what I actually think of it, and how I think things should be done (because I know what'

2. My neighbor.
I got locked out of my house today and had an incredible experience. My neighbor, Tahim, is awesome, and the world shall know it.

I'm going to plunge back into my world now. Have a great day, and I 'll write more later.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day...Hmm...

I've heard it before, but this year it seems to be showing up more frequently.

"Happy Turkey Day."

It was kind of amusing at first, but over time and with an increase of it's use, the phrase has started to bother me. Thanksgiving should be for just that: giving thanks. It's a small thing, but with the "Turkey Day" references on the rise, I worry about the holiday. It has been a favorite of mine, in fact probably the favorite, so it pains me to have this happening. I know that there won't be a total sweep across the nation, but where most people don't look to the bright side of things and struggle to be appreciative of anything, I hate seeing the term "Thanksgiving" fade.

Also, I have felt that Thanksgiving has been one of the least commercialized holiday we have. And though I think that will still be the case (as Christmas dominates the last quarter of the year), I don't want the day to be more about food and (I hate the name) Black Friday.

So slay the turkey talk and move on to loving what's around you. For me it's

A fire in the fireplace
My cat half-sleeping, half-purring in my lap
My in-laws in my house (because mine are awesome)
My job and the students that make me laugh
Movies that conjure memories and fantasy (Big Fish especially)
My friends that I see almost every week that I never get tired of
A guitar that makes me live despite my ability to fully utilize it
My Bible in which I love to find new things that make me feel like God is smiling at me

And these are just some things that are recent obsessions.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Weird Conversations

To hear a strange phrase or three come from my class is no rarity, and I realized that the vast majority of those phrases come from my face. Today, though, the oddities of class discussion were generously provided by some of my theater students as they discussed a recent one-act competition.

"Did you see Jesus? He was so hot."

And no, they weren't talking about a Latino. Apparently, one of the plays was The Bible in 30 Minutes or something to that effect. I can't even imagine just how irreverent it had to have been, and even if it were classy, the casting choice for Jesus was obviously inspiring something not-so-Biblical.

"Wasn't he Christian?"

This wouldn't have been so amusing. But what I gathered is that "Christian" was the actor's name. I would have thought that the conversation could not have become much more entertaining, but another guy piped up.

"He wasn't Christian, he was Jewish."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Week of a Thousand Time Units

I don't mean to gripe, but then again...I really do.

Every week during November has flown by at an alarming rate, which is awesome. This week, though, the shortest work week of the month is dragging like the knuckles of a Neanderthal.

Gripe, gripe, gripe.

Anyhow, on Thursday, Amy's family is coming into town for five days, so that will be awesome, and it will make this week worthwhile. I really don't have much to say.

I'm tired...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Once was Lost...

Life in general has been excellent lately. I've revamped some of my classes and made them a lot more interesting (though a lot harder to prepare for), and I had a really fun (and tiring) weekend. I'll talk about the school stuff another time.

Saturday night was an adventure and a half. Some friends were house-sitting and wanted to have everybody over to hang out and enjoy life well outside the city limits. It was awesome and worth all the wanderings and frustrations that it took to get there.

First, I learned something: even if it is rude and annoying to be a backseat driver, it's not always a bad thing. I didn't drive to the house, and my wife didn't either. Instead, our friends, Mr. and Mrs. Smith drove. We started out and expected a half-hour drive, so we went for quite a while before realizing that the directions were not matching up with our surroundings. If my wife had been driving, I would have probably been a real pain in the tail and hollered
from the back seat, and if I had been behind the wheel, she'd have done the same. But we didn't want to be rude. So when we found that we were on the wrong highway, on the wrong side of town, heading in the wrong direction entirely, nothing was said. Honest mistakes...they happen. As my wife and I talked later, we found that we had inklings that may have led us in the right direction before this point, but we didn't want to be annoying backseat drivers.

Later, I started feeling a bit squeamish. I think it was the heater that did it, but it may have been Arby's--who knows, really? It was in this unfortunate condition, and 20-30 minutes later that we realized that, again, our surroundings and directions were not lining up. We called the hosts of our eventual get-together and were informed that though we were on the correct highway, we were heading in the wrong direction.

To wrap this up, an hour later we rolled up to the house, two and a half hours late, almost out of gas, and with a very apologetic driver. We had a great time over all with some Wall-E and some Killer Bunnies. And the night is already filed as a ridiculous romp through the Nebraskan wilderness that was a good time for all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And We Keep Getting Closer

I watched Idiocracy last night...again. This is at least the third time I've sat and let my mind be reduced to mush while, at the same time, let it rise to become it to a critical thinking and analytical machine.

Like other Mike Judge works, the film is simultaneously brilliant and dumber than a box of hair. It's his art-showing us how things are or how they will be while allowing us to see the ever-so-obvious flaws of our society.

During last night's viewing, I had a new wave of terror as I watched Judge's future. It has frightened me before to see just how stupid people can be (and it has changed the way I see most of my students), but one character stood out to me last night. He stood, holding his pants (or package, it's difficult to say which because they were at the same level) and spoke with a drawl spiked with inner-city slang-type inflection.

I have that exact student.

In fact, not only did the character sound like this students, the content was something that the student would say, and has said. Tis frightening really, that with each new film, stand-up routine, music video, or morning radio show, I see the dawn of the Idiocratic Era.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Colonel Pickering and the X-Men

Over the weekend, I went to Colorado to see my youngest brother perform in My Fair Lady. It was awesome. He not only did a great job, but did all he could to steal the show. And steal it he did. The thing that threw me off was that a lot of his antics were not cleared with the play's director. Gutsy. But for this show, it worked well. The best part, is that he dedicated his performance to my other brothers and me.

However, the good times were slowed as I was battling a cold for most of the weekend. Grr. It's still hanging on, but I hope to be rid of it by tomorrow. If not, then life will be quite irritating.

Wrath of the Lich King looks awesome, but I have yet to really play it. I got on last night expecting more people online, but was all alone. So I dropped it and moved on to my newest obsession: X-Men the animated series. This gem of the mid-nineties has been great entertainment and fed my nerd-hunger for many hours last night. So good.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Do Not Feed the Bears

As Yogi and schemed up a plethora of ideas to steal food from people who are just trying to enjoy a break from life, I think the Ranger Smith should have maybe just shot him. Nothing else seemed to work, so why not?

Maybe somebody spent many month's worth of wages on a vacation to Jelloystone Park, worked tirelessly to have a great feast in nature, convinced the ex to bring the kids out and enjoy one last family get-together. But right when things seemed to be going well, a goofus in a neck-tie and hat swings down and lifts that food right from the table. What if that was the only food they had for that day and the children had to go hungry? What if a marriage split because it magnified a weakness in one of the people? I can see a crushed soul on a rock, his head flopped into his hands as he wails, "I can't even plan a picnic for my family that I love with all my heart. I'm a failure and don't want to live."

And yet, Ranger Smith never managed to end this menace to society. Furthermore, nobody seemed to acknowledge the negative repercussions of the show. It taught people that it was acceptable to be conniving, rude, and selfish when it came to satisfying your own personal desires. People wander about taking whatever they like if they feel like they could used and blow off the consequences. You could have ruined somebodies life. Don't you care? Huh?

So cruel...

Hanna-Barbera, you've no idea what you've done!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Techno-futile World?

Yesterday I went to a meeting that was all about using more technology in the classroom. I heard about this kind of stuff in college. "Always use technology!" But at my college, we had no technology, so I had no clue what this could really mean.

In the meeting, we talked about using blogs, wikis, and podcasts as means for students to respond and work. Though I know little to nothing about podcasts, I am creating a wiki for students doing a research project, and I'm thinking of having students post essays on a blog. It's a little thing, I know, but I'm getting all white and nerdy over it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I started reading Jude today, and it didn't take long before it became depressing.

"Although I was eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints." v.3

It's sad that the best news and most thrilling part of Christianity has to be put aside because people have to fight for the truth.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Friendly Times

This weekend, my wife and I went to Missouri to see a what I can only call a friend of the highest quality. She's awesome. And I think what makes it great is that we don't stay in touch, but when we come together, we have endless amounts of material to discuss and laugh about. Life was good.

Every year, she has a get together call "The Singe" during which a bonfire is made that scorches your soul. I had never seen such a thing. The wood stack was taller than me before we lit it, and flames licked over twenty feet in the air.

In general, fire is awesome. With this fire, I loved it even more as I could see the purple chasing the orange through the wood until the orange jumped into sparks and embers. I was in a trance for a greater part of the evening.

When getting home, I logged on to WoW to see if my brothers were on. Zach was, of course, and he asked if I wanted to run around with his guild after the expansion comes out on Thursday. I said it sounded great. Then he told me that it would be a "time commitment." I have no trouble with commitment, but I had to ask how severe this would be. Four nights a week from 7-11. Yipes. Since I've been trying to cut back on my gaming in general, this seemed like a bad idea. And now, I'm convinced it is. Not looking forward to telling him, "Love to, but I'm trying to live."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's Been One of These Kind of Days

Rant. Rant. Rant.

That'll do me as much good as anything. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Voting: Not So Thrilling

I guess nobody has ever said that doing your duty as a responsible citizen is exciting, but I was kind of hoping it would be. Living in Nebraska, I found that my vote really did count for almost nothing. I looked at the paper today and saw that only one county voted for Obama. One. Out of the entire state, one (and I think it was Lancaster, where I live) that had a majority for the democratic nominee. Even though the guy I voted for won, I feel like I lost because those in my more immediate vicinity were not really with me.

I don't take sides with politics, at least not when it comes to party lines, and over all, I hate even talking about it. I blame my parents. They are both die-hard republicans that get all of their political news from Fox-News. They talk about O'Reilly tells them, and have little time for anything else. Over the years, this has driven me further from even wanting to listen to the republican side of things. I fear doing the same democratically. Though a registered independent, it is kind of hard to look at the lines and not sway more one way than another.

This is most exemplified by an amendment that I voted on yesterday. Democrats seem to usually talk a lot about leveling the playing fields, helping those less fortunate. An amendment yesterday focused on prohibiting discrimination of any kind in any situation. It did not pass. Somewhere, an idea of equal rights got ingrained into Nebraska thinking.

I know that republicans don't all think that people should be denied rights based on sex, religion, and race. But honestly, how can you look at something like that and say, "Nah, I like making sure that people don't have equal opportunities. I like make people work harder and get less."

I don't know how to end this...


Monday, November 3, 2008

Hit the Ground...and It Hurt.

Class is back in session. the week off was amazing, and I didn't want to it end (no surprise there). My lack of planning often comes to bite in unpleasant places, and this week is not much of an exception. I started planning my week yesterday. It seemed like it was far enough in advance, and on a school day, it may have been. I made my plans, then looked at what I would need for copies, and that's when the nibbling started.

I have 120+ students, and I never know if they will all be around or not, so I have to have copies for all. This wouldn't be such a big deal, except that out copier has a tendency of dying...a lot. I already jammed it once, and I fear trying again. So I'm half frantic, half indifferent (hence the blogging).

In other news, everybody should check out It will change your life. The people responsible for Mystery Science Theater 3000 have continued their work on more well-known works. This weekend, we downloaded their commentary for Jurassic Park and it was the best four bucks I ever spent. Seriously, if you have movies that you want to spice up, or if you've been curious about one but you're afraid it will suck, look into this. It makes everything better.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Nightmare Worth Having

Tomorrow is Halloween, and I was getting annoyed with myself that I have not watched The Nightmare Before Christmas yet this year. In fact, I haven't even listened to the soundtrack lately. Luckily, my annoyances left me as my friend and I rode downtown to see it in 3-D.

It was awesome.

I didn't see Nightmare until my 4th year of college, and I was obsessed with it instantly. But I had never been able to see it on the big screen, so this was thrilling. With the 3-D, which doesn't use any silly little gimmicks, a lot of little details came through that is really hard to see otherwise. I've seen the movie well over ten times in the last three years, and my friend has seen it who knows how many times in his life, but we both we awed by the details that we had never noticed before.

The only real nightmare was that they charged me $11.50 to get in. Grr.

In other news, this week has been great. After my bathroom adventures on Tuesday, I spent the afternoon wandering through town, taking pictures of stuff. The leaves and weather have just left me breathless...momentarily. I read a blog from a friend I haven't heard from in a couple of months, and life is peachy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Toilet Talk: Crank it Up

I just had one of the most intriguing of restroom experiences. If you're thinking, "Yeah, this is what I hoped I'd be reading about today," I know, it's weird. Yesterday is spiritual confession and life-altering decisions, today is what went through my mind while dropping the kids off at the pool. Deal with it.

I'm at Scooter's, a coffee shop in Lincoln, Nebraska. After grading papers for over an hour, I felt that nature was calling me collect. I answered and was disappointed. As I entered the dookie den, the music got quieter. Strange, to me, that a place of business would decrease the noise factor when you're doing your business. Is it so one can concentrate more intently? Because the restroom is a place of raucous, cacophonous sounds, I thought a louder soundtrack would be appreciated. I would have love to have sung along with "Rain King," but it was barely audible and tinny. I say, "Crank it up."

But wait, that's not all. When I opened the door, the light flicked on automatically. I had experienced this before, of course, but never had I been stranded, sans pants, when the same light automatically flicked off. All of a sudden, I had a vague sense of what it is like to be stranded on a deserted island. There I was, perched on porcelain, alone. It's a kooky thing to be stuck in a foreign bathroom with not light. In my own home, there is always enough light to see where I pee. But now it was up to sonar. The joy in this was that with the light went the fan. With that extra noise gone, the music was much more intelligible.

"Just my luck," I thought. "I don't even know this song."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Life-Changing Experiences

Recently, I have been attending a seminar at my church. At first, I abhorred the idea of attending. The first couple were as boring as watching the effects of gravity on well-crafted statue of cheese. I dozed off a couple of times. Secondly, it was a seminar. Just the word makes me hate it. Too much information poorly presented. And that is exactly what it has been. However, God works regardless.

I have a crew of people that also find the seminar strange as it leaves us with a feeling of unease. Though there is a lot of material to go through, well under half is from scripture itself. And even though I believe God inspires hundreds and thousands of people, I want to see the direct connection to the scriptures (this can't be done when whipping through page after page of material). The joy of the posse that I share this common feeling with is that we release our hot wind filled bags after each session. We ask questions about what was said and how we don't feel comfortable with it. We freely share what bugs us about what we heard. We seek to discover what stirs our guts and makes us feel like we could spiritually hurl.

I am out of school for this week thanks to the first quarter break. I was able to take a Bible and sit down for two hours strait, searching for answer to some of the questions we had. I'm still looking. But I had a fantastic conversation with God. He showed me things today that cleared up a lot of questions unrelated to seminar, and I felt closer to Him than I have in months. I was also confronted, not for the first time, with the time-consuming practices that keep me from the most abundant life: video games. World of Warcraft has been the most prominent over the last year, but it is not the sole pillar of distraction. Therefore, I'm going for a covenant to avoid video games outside of social situations. This means that unless I am in a room with another person playing a game, I am allowed to join them in that game. Otherwise, I want to be free of such a time-waster.

Already, it's bizarre. I came home and didn't know what to do. I wonder what I used to do, and I can think of very few activities. Pray for me, please, that I stand strong on this.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Potential Last Words: Actions Really

I read an article in the paper today about a body that had been found in a creek. The person had been reported missing more than a month ago. Aside from a grotesque and probably squishy corpse, I wondered about the memory that will be held by this individual at the memorial (referred to as a celebration of life).

I wonder because the last time this person was seen alive, he was reported by his friends to be with them while they were heavily drinking and "maybe smoking marijuana." Apparently, he got angry, stormed off and was never seen again until he turned up in the creek. What is a celebration of life like when you know the person disappear while being drunk and high. What is to celebrate? I'm not saying that such a person can have worth celebrating, but with such a downer as a final impression...I don't know.

I've often heard that we need to be careful and treat every day as our last and whatever, and I hate when a cliche really does tell the truth. But I really do hope that whenever I kick off, people can say that I went out in a way that carries some amount of dignity.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Potential Last Words: The First

"I forgot I was in here."

A student who has become synonymous with distraction and disruption was asked to leave class today. Throughout this year, he has belted out a laugh that makes shudders flee my spine only to be replaced by seismic convulsions that lurched my soul. He pulled this little trick again today, and I told him that I was tired of his distraction. He left with the saying, "I forgot I was in here." I picture some idiot sealing his fate by pulling the pin from a grenade with trapped in a bank vault, or a Darwin Award winner who tried to throw a stick of dynamite out a car window-but the window was still rolled up.

"I just forgot I was in here."

I can't say I've acted appropriately in every situation, but I think I have always been aware enough of my surroundings to know when not to do something. And even though this student only got sent to the office, I get visions from Burn After Reading in which characters find themselves stuck in places they never should have been or situations they didn't mean to end up in.

Verdict: these horrible last words would flag a person as clumsy in speech or action, leaving them remembered as a simpleton.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Potential Last Words

I was at a memorial service yesterday for a friend who died at age 28 from cancer. It was a fantastic service and about as light as a memorial can be. Her life was truly celebrated, and that does her as much honor as I can imagine.

During a portion of the service, a note, left behind in her Bible, was read. I suppose it was because of the note that the service could be help in such peace. We were not told when the note was written, if it had been penned during her last times she knew. The idea occurred to me that we don't know when we'll be done, which of our words will be our last, and it got me to thinking of what my last words would likely be. Would they be uplifting, or a complaint? A joke? A noise resembling a young muskrat being stepped on? I suppose that wouldn't really be a last word (Not if you count the gurgling sound).

Lately, I've been so enveloped with life (not in the best of ways), that I've been running dry on material that would be even of slight interest. Therefore, periodically, I will leave you with some potential last words.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hurray For a New Week

I can't express how happy I am that last week is over. As I tried to blog on Friday (though I never got around to posting), last week was a madhouse: super busy, super exhausting, and ridiculously long.

I think after the devil got bored with moral conscience torture, he turned to the education system and said, "Let there be testing." It really is the antithesis of the glory of good. I had two weeks worth that ended last week, so there's just another thing to be happy about.

My wife gets back in town today, so that's awesome. A full week without is a bit too long. Though I enjoyed my cold cereal diet, I am ready to get back to my healthier, happier way of life.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

All Alone

So my wife is out of town for the rest of the week, leaving me eating only sandwiches, hot dogs, and cold cereal...and it's awesome. There's something about bachelor-ing it up every once in a while that's kind of nice. I think it's that everything is back to my own schedule. I get home and eat whatever whenever and do whatever I feel like. This isn't to say that my wife is a tyrant that dominates every bit of my life when she's home, but there's something different when you know you are the only person in the house. The cats love me more, I eat the cheaper brand of Fruit Loops, and I sprawl all over the bed. I know that I will soon look at this solitude as a curse, but for now, I'll be a slob of a bachelor and enjoy it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Rarity of Normalcy

I have to admit, today was kind of boring. After all of the busy-ness of last week as well as student drama, today seemed incredibly dull. I'm pretty sure that I prefer the dull, but it does make it a challenge to blog something interesting.

I suppose the only thing worth mentioning is how ridiculous some of my "cheerful" and loud students were. We were talking about people that go through their entire lives without having any real friends to listen to the problems and trials of life. "It's easy to make friends," they claimed. "You just have to try. If you aren't going to try, you don't deserve friends."


Just yipes.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Having a Heart

We've been watching Of Mice and Men over the last couple of days. It's interesting to see how different people react to Lennie and everything he does. I have some who find the film incredibly sad because Lennie is so innocent, and yet he faces so much trouble in his life. Others laugh while Lennie winces after his fight with Curley, all the while mocking those who feel sorry for him.

"It's fake," they chant as if it makes the condition of a character any better. They are cruel, heartless butt-faces to the 3rd degree.

My wife and I went and saw Burn After Reading two days ago, and with her, it became a different movie. Despite the hilarity of Pitt and McDormand, we couldn't help but notice the cruelty of the situation. The only characters that get what they want are the women who seem to be the least afflicted throughout the movie. This is by no means a statement of gender but a statement of the shallow, they that drag and ruin the lives of the innocent in their pursuits and desires. We had a sobering moment as we thought of those that would find the film to be a comedy only.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A F*@%ed Up World

I had talks with three different students yesterday that made my heart shrivel. One was convinced that he will not graduate from high school. He's in 10th grade right now and said his mom is making him drop out in his junior year to get his GED. Another said he'd been kicked out of his house because his parents were angry at him. He claims to have spent some nights in the park. Another has a whole new batch of issues.

What's wrong with people? Everyday I work with teenagers who fight an up-hill battle with life. They're kids, for crying out loud. They should get more of a chance than this. With all the state-of-the-art jerk faces around, it's no wonder. But how is it that people can be so self-centered to not realize what's going on or want to help.

I can't imagine how God must feel to see how humans have lost their humanity.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Not-So-Fun Size

Over a week? What's wrong with me? I would like to blame work for keeping me exhausted and forgetful of my blog-tastic duties.

Why are fun-size things so small? I was eating a bag of M&Ms the other day and the bag said "Fun Size." I would rip the top from the bag and let the sugar pills fall into my mouth, munch a few times, swallow, and long for more. There was no fun involved-just disappointment.

What would be more fun-a ball or a ball pit? Wave pool or ocean? The Kearney Arch or the St. Louis Arch?

I think that people should call such things as they are-a cheap bag of M&Ms, a cheap imitation of the ocean, a cheap landmark.

I am 200 miles from a crappy arch, 30 minutes from a urine-warm wave pool, and I want more M&Ms.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cursed Practice

So I went a-writing yesterday and it was pretty sweet except for the fact that I couldn't remember where I left off in my book. I don't know how long it has been since I wrote about the misadventures of my character, Cid, but I had to reread three chapters just to remember what things were like in his world. No good.

I bellow at my students often enough about the importance of practicing one's writing. And though I try to keep this up to not lose touch with the writer within, I don't write near as much. It's probably Warcraft's fault...that game ruins lives.

No excuses, though. Only explanations. I need to keep up. I must. The lives of my characters depend on it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Good Food and Good Health

I feel so much better today! I don't know if my simile maker is working any better, though, so I'll stay away from comparisons. Anyhow, I've got loads of energy, and my classes have been super fun today, albeit not too productive (General English).

Tonight I get Indian food (drool). I think if I had to live on only one things for the rest of my life, it would have to be some kind of Indian dish: Chicken Madras or Reshmi Kabob. Best food ever, though I also just got a craving for pizza...weird.

Anyway, I need to find something worthwhile to write about one of these days. But for now, too bad, I guess.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ah, to be Young...and Sick.

So I'm home from work today, sick as a duck in a sewer (I don't know. Don't ask.). It's really irritating, and not much fun at all. And I wonder, I wah-wah-wah-wah-wonder when it stopped being awesome to stay home sick.

I used to try to stay home a lot when I was a kid, and my Mom was pretty balanced about how often and for how long I should stay home. Now it just blows like a tire pump (seriously, what's with my similes today?).

Anyhow, I might load more stuff onto my Deviant Art page and get some grading done, but grr. Life is like a box of Peeps. I hate Peeps.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What a Weekend...

Overall boring, but eventful...sort of.

My wife was out of town, so that meant starting the weekend with the Smiths. At this point life was sweet as they always give me good food and hearty conversation. We saw Burn After Reading on Friday. Pure awesome. And ate burgers and the like.

Saturday was the more boring side of things. Generally, Saturdays are packed with all sorts of good things, but this one just seemed dull. So eventually, I started a Deviant Art page. This was pretty sweet. I really dig photography, but I never know what to do with it once I take a picture. So now i feel like I have some kind of creative outlet.

Sunday left my fantasy football devastated...and not just a little.

That's the quick whatever of my life. I'm tired from Aikido, so I don't feel much like writing. See ya.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dreaming Again

Last night I dreamed that a bunch of ten-year-olds had broke into my house and ransacked the place. I called the police, but they weren't open until 8:00 a.m. Luckily, the perpetrators came back to apologize for wrecking the drum-set and keying the Prius. Their parents were furious with them as they drug them around by the ear. I guess it's time I finished Half Moon Investigations.

Makes me want to thank all the good parents out there that would nearly rip their child's ear off for doing something so stupid and punch the parents that have raise little hellions and don't care.

The weekend is bound to be full of many video games as the wife will be out of town. I also plan on seeing Fame performed at the high school.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nothing to Say.

I can't think of much to say today. Maybe I'm just tired. Anyway, take a picture, and I'll talk to you later.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Makes You Feel Good

Yesterday, I had a colleague say, "You're doing a hell of a job in there, damn it." It sounded a little awkward, as if he didn't swear much normally, but it raised my spirits until they were pressed against the ceiling tiles.

I suppose many people wonder if they do their jobs well and whether they make a difference is somebody's life, so it was awesome to hear some kind of reinforcement. It makes me wonder why people don't give more positive feedback. Do they realize how it feels to be told that what they do makes things better for somebody else? It reminds me of the Family Guy episode in which a murderer pokes himself with a knife. "Is that what I've been doing to people? I belong here." It makes me think that not enough people have been told that they are worthwhile. They don't realized how it makes the soul swell and hug you from inside.

Thank you Mr. Doughty for the soul hug.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Odd Little Spiritual Insight

I preach at my church from time to time (once a month for now), and I was trying to think of something to say for one of my weekends. I don't know where it came from but, I think that Satan is just like my cat. For those of you who don't like cats, this comparison is nothing knew. In fact, I think cats are the animals that are most frequently compare to the devil. But the epiphany hit me (it didn't hurt too bad though) like this.

Everyday I get up and get ready for my day, and before I leave the house, I looked moderately spiffy. On most days, but especially those when I wear black pants, my cats decides to rub against my leg, leaving a trail of orange a white hair that can never be gotten off by just the brush of a hand. The hair, of course, represents sin and all of its annoying traits: it seems harmless but you don't want others to notice, and you can't just shake yourself free of it.

The analogy goes on to compare the Holy Spirit to a lint roller or something like that. But I won't bother describing that.

Monday, September 8, 2008

That's Creepy.

I had a student say that pure water tasted like crap.

"How do you know that?" I asked. He was stumped and the class laughed.

I don't mind the occasional butchering of language. As an English teacher, I try to keep in mind that language evolves, and there's not much I can do about it. But I have to wonder how so many think so little about what they say. When profanity becomes the every-word, it doesn't bother me that vocabulary skills are so low or that it can be offensive. It bothers me more that it sounds stupid. So stupid, that I have to take them seriously.

Nobody likes when a person takes everything literally. I say, though, you have to do what you can when a person says, with passion and conviction, that they have put something in their mouth and that something reminded them of feces.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Will Not Forget

I can't think of the last time I wrote on a Friday, so I wanted to make sure that I did it this time.

Casual Friday is a joy. Where I work, the dress code is awesome anyway, allowing for comfort regardless of what day of the week. But Friday is always nice because I can usually count on everybody else to be as chill about their dress as I am.

However, I've often thought that Monday should be the universal not-get-too-dressed-up-for-work day. Because Mondays universally feel long, sluggish, and stupid throughout, it seems to make more sense to me to allow employees to dress down. I suppose the reason this doesn't exist is people may come in and reflect their weekend activities a bit too much. They may walk in wearing the same thing they were wearing on Friday because they felt no reason to dress up and therefore reek of ill-chosen entertainment.

In other news, my allergies suck. Every day this week, I've wanted to pull my eyes out of my head and go over them with a belt sander.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Compensation Photo

Since I've been slipping on the writing front, I wanted to throw up something (hurl) even if it isn't writing oriented as compensation.

Remembering Dreams

So I forgot to write on Monday because I thought it was still Sunday. Yesterday, I had no excuse save that of completely forgetting. I guess that the whole accountability thing is thrown off if I just plain forget. Oh well. I even had something to say...I think. I can't remember for sure. Either way, thanks to Click-Track Heart, I have inspiration for today.

Two nights ago, I dreamed that I took a shower in my cubicle at work. Aside from having a shower head out of my desk, the dream seemed almost normal. You know, getting nude in the office, scrubbing my never-seen-the-sun parts of me. All in a day's work. The really weird part is that after my shower in plain view, I didn't like the clothes I had picked out for myself. They didn't match (should've been first clue. The day I notice my clothes not matching, I'll know somebody took my brain and replaced it with something that cares.) I wanted to change my pants, but I was too shy and embarrassed to change them in front of my colleagues.

I woke up in a usual way-no sweat or panting. And I think that it goes to show that the dreams that don't disrupt your slumber are really the ones that wring your brain.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Weekend That Was

I totally forgot about writing yesterday; thought it was still the weekend.

The weekend was pretty sweet, allergies aside. And despite spending a good chunk of time on Sunday helping my friend move from apartment to house, life was an orchard. Anyhow the main thing I want to talk about is Death Race.

How weird is it to go see a movie because you know it's bad. If you've never seen Death Race 2000, you should...maybe. It's a whole bunch of suck, but it's really funny in how bad it truly is. I don't know who thought it should be resurrected, but they should probably be shot or given a medal. Honestly, the appeal of going to see a movie because you are not interested, but excited, to see it for its bad qualities.

I blame Chris. Before he moved here, I would never see a movie like that, not in the theatre anyway. However, he has opened my eyes to the magic of bad cinema (though that's too classy a term for movies such as these). So thank you, Chris. I thought after Beowulf, there could be no other to fill the crap-tastic void in my entertainment-obsessed brain. Now, I can live again.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Moaning Over Moving

Helped a friend move a bunch of stuff from his apartment to a new house. Ugh. Moving. It really is as annoying as a task can be. For me, the worst part, truly, is the deception. Whether moving from the dorm at the end of the year or from my own apartment to our house, I always got that feeling of, "There's not much left. It will take maybe 30 more minutes." One year later, I'm still rummaging through crap that I had forgot I had and pausing to consider keeping it. I know I forgot it ever existed, but does that mean I should throw it out?

The answer is "yes, and with great haste." But that never happens. In fact, there are few things that are really worth saving after they've been lost then found. Pirate booty is always worth hanging on to, unless of course it is cursed. Instead, it is the answer to why you haven't felt anything in years and you rot when the moonlight hits you. More money or goods that could one day be used for money (movies, CDs, my mother) are worth stowing away as well. But since these are so rarely discovered during the Great Moving Adventure, moving still a tornado...that hurls you into power lines and destroys your house...that you just moved in to.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No Internet and Lost Homework

On Monday night, my internet cut out on me. I wish that were the beginnings of an amazing saga that would entertain you to the point of wetting yourself, but not luck. Dry pants for you. It through me off though, and I didn't get to blog yesterday. But it gets me to wondering: why is it that technical support that talks you through every possible trouble-shooting step has such a thick accent? It doesn't bother me so much, the work gets done and nobody gets hurt, but honestly. If companies are saving money by hiring out people from India, wouldn't the phone bill be enough to make that venture not worth it? Maybe the cost of calling people has come way down from where it used to be, but whatever. It still seems like a mighty big hassle.

Yesterday, I called the company to get my internet back up and running. A guy had already been to my house and said that the wireless signal was strong and that I shouldn't have a problem (grr). So I called the company and talked to a nice, script-reading technician named Shawn/Sean. He took me through all the steps that I had done the night before, then told me to take off all the DSL filters from the phone jacks. "Wouldn't that disconnect us?" I asked. He assured me that it would, but, lucky me, I could call them back on my cell phone. Oh joy! Called back on my cell, had to talk to a whole new person who took all my information down again and listened to my sob story that I had told twice before. Long and short of it, they can do nothing for me. Internet is still out, and somebody has to come by today. Stupid.

Speaking of stupid, I tried to find a fold full of student papers this morning. I keep them in a groovy Chuck Norris folder in my room, but when I went to get them, the folder was gone. Bah nuh nuh! I wandered around the room, checked the trash and was convinced that a student had jacked my Norris folder. I swore vengeance with a round house kick to the face. Ten minutes later I remembered that I took the folder home last night and left it in my car. And I brought my wife's car in this morning. Blast. Now I must prepared to round house kick myself to the face. It's gonna hurt, but that's how Chuck would want it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Nap Time and Catch Phrases

Had some friends come to visit over the weekend (which is why there was no Friday post), and I was transported back to a more collegiate feeling time when bed was a place where you went when you could not longer keep an eye open. Unfortunately, I haven't the energy of the collegiate bed-evader. Saturday was dreadfully sluggish, but because I had just enough to do, I didn't really get a chance to recuperate. Sunday gave more opportunity, but I didn't use it all that well. To top it all off, I didn't go to bed early last night, either. I planned to, but I actually didn't feel sleepy. Instead I kept reading Watchmen which is thrilling me more every day.

This is one of the few Mondays that I didn't dread coming to work. I guess "dread" isn't the right word. I love my job, and all the more this year. This is partially due to just plain awesome people that make the career world go round. The big thing happening now is that my cubicle-mate has a new catchphrase: Wiccan. How it started being used is a little foggy, but she'll often start singing, "I like to Wiccan, Wiccan." It definitely makes watching Madagascar a different experience.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Death and One Funny Thing

Over the course of a week, I heard of two deaths that really bothered me. One was the brother of a former student, the other a great friend's grandmother. This stirs all sorts of feelings and thoughts, as death seems to do. But the real beast of it is that I've not said hardly anything to those who lost.

My dad died when I was four. Throughout high school and the early part of college, I was crumpled if I thought about it for more that .3 seconds. I know the sorrow that death brings, that insensitive, numbing lukewarm feeling that wraps around the body and suffocates. I often told myself that one reason my dad died was so I could help others who faced something similar. But I haven't.

All of a sudden I'm loaded with an insecurity, a lack of confidence about what to say when I know that often, people don't want to hear anything. They want to know that somebody is praying, loving, being a safety net in the event that they need to gush.

I need to suck it up.

On a totally different note, I heard somebody call Shihan a bad mamma jamma yesterday...and he was serious.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sun It Rises.

First day of school, officially. I drove in around 7:10, the earliest I've left the house in a little while. Even when I did leave this early, the sun was still coming up early enough that I didn't get the whole sunrise is amazing feel. Today I got to experience that again.

I love sunsets, and they seem to carry more charm and romance, but the sunrise has a bonus. When the temperature is in the mid-60s, a low-lying level of mist ducks between the houses as I drive over the 27th street bridge, and the sun blankets the city in a sherbet hue. With every breath, life reaches farther down my body until it taps my left toe and my body shudders. The gray skitters to nowhere and is gone, and the clouds divide the sun into beams as strong and majestic as the Almighty. And Heaven is on the horizon.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Steak, Jazz, and Desire

What a day. I think the time I was home and conscious was less than 45 minutes. Despite the hectic schedule, yesterday was a blast...well, from the afternoon on it was.

The evening, and the reason I wasn't home at all, brought my wife and me to Omaha to see her dad. He was in town on business and we were so close it would be a shame to no go see him. We went to Anthony's Steakhouse. Normally, I don't get all excited over steak, but the cuts were so massive, you had to get a little excited over the big meat. Amy and I split a sirloin that came with a potato, soup, vegetables, and as much bread as we wanted. It was all mighty tasty, but what made the night complete was the jazz band in the lounge.

It's not often you see a full 12+ person group playing old swing/jazz. It was awesome. When we finished force-feeding ourselves, we waddled over and listened for another half hour or so. It was a moment that makes me think of how much I should practice any given skill. Why don't I practice more? My guitar is picked up maybe twice a week, my writing the same, my camera only on special occasions, though they are all things that I want to be excellent at.

It's hard to make practice fun I figure. It's the same reason my students don't do homework or read or journal. I don't dare give the time excuse for this, I could make the time, but to work solo is something enjoyable only on rare occasions, when I feel driven and crazy.

Alas, I am lazy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Long Day.

Much tired. Write tomorrow.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Inspiration Station

I just got done meeting with some of the teachers that are helping with my General English classes. Wow. They have rocked my feeble clerk world. The ideas that they have for these kids is incredible. It's weird, but I feel kind of small around them, not sure of my place in this whole academic scheme. Regardless, life is awesome because of them.

This summer I went to a two-day workshop about including all students, regardless of ability, in your classroom. It's part of a push to not only include kids with special needs, but training teachers to work together to make the classroom an environment that is best for all your students. These people I'm working with are so awesome that I can't imagine somebody not wanting to have more help with a class. In fact, the thought of running a class solo while knowing a second brain is there ready to jump in is rather sickening.

The ego is a horrid thing, and mine is huge and bizarrely hideous. But cooperation makes it happen. The tragedy of "mine" and the impression of being able to do it all is mind-blowing. The world changes for the worst, people spout philosophies of working for the best, and so many continue to hoist the world over their heads expecting it to never crush them.
School hasn't started yet, and I'm already thankful for these teachers and their help. I hope I help them as much as they do me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

And Time Slips By

Do you ever think it odd that time moves the same as it ever did, but once you try to hang on, it accelerates until you find yourself in a totally new day, new week, new year? In addition to this (I'm assuming) common feeling, I slam against an anxiety as I constantly evaluate the time remaining to prepare for a task. Point in case: getting ready for school.

On Tuesday, I came to the school to begin my beginning-of-the-year preparations, Wednesday was mostly meetings, and Thursday has been nothing but meetings. And so, my time has slid out of sight. But just yesterday, I told myself that I had a full week to get my act ready. Today, I feel freaked out like I've lost too much time. One day's difference has me on edge, feeling smothered but teetering.

I've often felt like pressure produces my better work, but over the last year or so, this anxiety and related stress makes me want to do nothing at all. I need an escape of some kind, just an evening of nothingness. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll get one for quite a while now.

In other news, I found out yesterday that the brother of a student I had last year died this last weekend. The ultimate monster to meditate on, second only to life. I don't think I'm up to reflect on it at this point. Another time.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Not as Good as the Book Part II

So, a couple of days back at school and my predicted conversations didn't really take place at all-except for with Bryan, but the conversation wasn't how I thought it would go. Way to predict, me. Regardless, my thoughts continue, and the idea of movie/book comparisons is still one that has been digging into my brain with thumb-tack-like fingers.

First, it seems that whenever a book is taken and made into a movie, finding a reader that isn't excited is like finding a poodle in an elephant stack. This might be because a reader loves the work and knows that it will have a greater exposure if taken through the Hollywood reamer. This in itself is a statement to the power of Hollywood: we know that people are more likely to watch a film than spend the time to read a book. We know it. After the movie is released, however, readers begin the gripe session of the season. As I mentioned yesterday, this usually grows from the major differences between the two presentations of the original. I would think that most people would just accept the fact that a film studio will do as it pleases with the source material. They'll change it, you can count on it.

Second, why does one medium have to reflect the other with such purity? Maybe it's because of copyrights and whatever, but one idea, one story is rarely complete and never perfect. And even though there are one jillion and seventy-three movies and books that should not be tampered with, there are scores upon a brazillion that can be made better. It seems that people become very afraid when source material is marred and rightfully so. I would hate if something I wrote turned into a Frankenstein's monster that gets out of my hands and haunts me for the rest of my days, leaving wishing that I had never had the idea to begin with. But honestly, how many times does the public see something or read something and think, "I think that Taye Diggs should not have smiled at all. The film would have worked better," or "I just wish that Shakespeare didn't kill off everybody in Romeo and Juliet." But once an author or director finishes a work, people won't touch it with a half-score foot rod. We'll talk about things plenty, rip it to shreds over coffee, but to change something seems like a sin without pardon.

The ultimate tragedy, though, is that I don't know how long these debates and arguments will go on. Eventually, the majority will cease to read entirely and spend time only absorbing without reaction as we head closer and closer to Idiocracy. It's happening, don't deny it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not as Good as the Book

Today I go back to the school to get ready for this next school year. Among the conversations I'm sure I'll have over the next week before students arrive, I dread one in particular. Over the summer I read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Good stuff for the most part. As the summer drew to its close, I checked the movie out as well. Not so much good stuff.

I think English teachers in general like to talk about how a movie never is as good as a book, but this time things seem different. When I watched Beowulf, and enjoyed it, I knew that my colleagues would not be such fans. "Beowulf sleeps with Grendel's mother? I don't remember that in the book." But it didn't bother me. I thought it worked well because the fire dragon always seemed like this weird thing that somebody just added to the end because they couldn't think of a way to kill off the hero. So the getting it on with the sea hag made the last chapter of the film work (though I think she should have died at some point).

With The Kite Runner, a different problem rears its boring head: the film follows the book almost perfectly. And it's dull. What makes the book interesting is Amir's own guilt over everything that he has done to his friend/servant, Hassan. But the only reason one gets to see this is the first-person narrative. The film covers every event in the book, but it's all just stuff happening. Nowhere in the movie does one get the feeling of Amir's guilt. Instead one sits through a movie that feels like forever but doesn't take enough time to make anyone care.

I dread the upcoming conversations. I'm know that everybody will agree the the movie wasn't as god as the book. But I don't know that everybody will see why. I think an English teacher curse is to love a book more without taking the time to care why.

To be continued...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Did You Hear That?

Why is it that one's own voice, once recorded is no good? I've listened or watched myself preach plenty of times and I always think, "Do I really sound like that?" And every time, I'm told that I do. Creepy. But the big thought, the real question, is, "If we don't sound like we think we do, what happens to one's impersonations?" I pick impression-able fruit from many stylistic trees from Brian Regan and Patrick Warburton to the people in my social circle. Often, I think I do a pretty good job. But this thought shook my confidence to nothing. What if I'm really no good at it at all?

I try not to think in terms of "What do people think of me now?" or anything like that. But it is a bizarre moment when you question a fair chunk of one's comedic fuel. To my students especially, I sling about the diction and phrases of favorite comedians and personalities. Do they sit back and whisper to each other, "Doesn't he realize that he does a horrible Jeff Goldblum impression?"

The worst part, really, is that there's nothing to do about it unless I go obsessive-recording my own voice until I think it sounds like what I want to impersonate. I can see somebody walking in on one of these ridiculous sessions with the question etched in his or her face, and I would have to make something up because it would be far too embarrassing to admit. Furthermore, this is the type of thought that I never know is legitimate or not. And the more I think about it, the more I wonder if I'm normal or not, if I am the paranoid freak that I'm sure everybody thinks I am. Soon, I'm going to be huddled in a corner, whispering in strange voices, conversing with myself with as many different voices as I can muster and conspiring against those that look at me in strange ways, ready to scream, cry, and laugh all at the same time before they come to take me away ha-haaa.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Standard Beginnings

Most blogs seem to begin with a post about why they are blogging. And though it pains me to copy-cat so blatantly, it is the undoubtedly the first monster worth meditating on.

I always enjoy writing, but I so frequently feel no urge to do it. I'll begin a story, or book in some cases, write my little brain out for several weeks or months, but before completion, I bail. I lack follow-through. My guess is that I don't know what I'll do with a work once I complete it-so I don't complete it.

I started writing a lot about two years ago. Before that, I didn't care at all. It was when my good friend from high school moved to town and we started talking about books, writing, expression, and the like. It was thrilling and inspiring. As we spoke, stories and concepts floated into my brain like that stray black hair that rides the waves in a hot tub, and I couldn't get away from it. Soon, another friend suggested a writer's club, a new outlet of creative energies. We began and got to work. I chronicled my some of my substitute teaching days, fiddled with a novel, a short story or two, and eventually dove into a book idea that I thought promising that still dominates my thoughts. But something happened. She moved away. He is loaded with projects. I lost my drive.

I'm here for accountability. I feel the need to write, but to write in a place where I feel I need to. My meditations will hopefully amuse and inspire as my friends have amused and inspired me.

Welcome to Monster Meditation.