Looking at this!

And it’s another tired D.A. video of the week!

This one features some very familiar 90’s music I remember hearing on the radio when I was growing up. You know. Around the same time I was hoarding all those Star Wars action figures in my room. And when I was getting bowl shaped hair cuts and scrapping my knee on the concrete when I would fall off my bike. I even remember when McDonald’s were giving away good toys in their happy meals.

It’s all a capella. It’s all 90’s dance hits. It’s all very animated and pretty. And all these people are Danish…  amazing.

It’s just a lot of fun to listen to.

So what are you waiting for? Click and enjoy!

Isn’t that just lovely?

Some of you probably hate a capella music, but I guess you just won’t listen to it. And it’s not like I was in the vocal group so I won’t be offended if you think it’s rather dumb.

Enjoy!

D.A.

Advertisements

Leader for the Day

August 30, 2011

Remember this?

When you were in kindergarten or 1st grade your teacher would award the “best student” of the day and they would become class leader?

Was my school the only one that did this?

So you would get caught doing something cool or nice during the week. Your teacher would walk up to you and say something to the effect of, “Wow, good job Douglas! You put the toys away very nicely.” or “Douglas, that was very nice of you to let Sarah borrow your crayons during that lesson.” Then you would get a gold star or something next to your name.

Then on Friday you became Class Leader. You get to walk in the front of the line when you go to P.E or lunch. It means you get to sit at the head of the  table with the teacher. First dibs on certain toys during play time. You might even get to take a nap on the non-sticky nap pad. (That means it’s the mat that Timmy didn’t pee on yet. You know you remember that kid…)

If you were super lucky, the teacher would buy you a Slush Puppie at lunch too. Oh how your cherry syrup stained lips would glimmer at the other kids. They would be so jealous.

Just in case you don't know what a Slush Puppie is, here is it's illegally obtained brand logo for your pleasure.

Yeah, this who thing. Leader for the day. That’s what yesterday felt like on WordPress.

Apparantly I had my last post became “Freshly Pressed.”

I mean, I think it’s really cool and all that, but let’s be honest, I only get to be leader for the day. It’s not like I get the spot on the front page for a whole year. So, I’m just taking the moment to say this:

ATTENTION ALL OF YOU WHO ARE NEW TO THIS BLOG!

I currently have a goal of trying to put a marble in each country on the planet. Yes, I’m serious. I currently have marbles in Canada and the United States…Yes, I know that’s not impressive but all things have to start somewhere.

But if you just send me an email with your address I will be happy to send you a marble. Then you can have it to keep and hold forever and ever.

If you would like more information please read one of my previous posts on the topic.

Now for those of you who have already known me for a while…

I bet you’re wondering if my newfound fame is going to get to my tiny brain.

In short, yes. Yes it is. I’ve just decided it would be worth it because this could be my 15 minutes of fame.

As a matter of fact, half an hour after I found out about this whole thing, I hired an agent. He’s pretty mean, but he gets the job done.

For example:

I already have a movie deal in place where I’m starring opposite Seth Rogen in a buddy cop movie.

I have even started working with Kanye West on a new album. It’s pretty tight yo.

I’ve also updated my wardrobe to only being made by Armani. It’s just how I roll now.

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m leader for the day now…I can do whatever I want.

I hope you’re not still staring at my wonderfully red lips because I’ve been drinking a delicious Slush Puppie.

Making loud slurps in your direction,

D.A.

The Younger Me

August 28, 2011

Today I remembered something about myself when I was just a wee lad. 

I was freaking cute.

I was also keeping the future in mind…

Star Wars fandom took over my life at a relatively young age. I remember seeing my dad watch The Empire Strikes Back back when I was around 7 or 8. It was the battle of Hoth scene, and I remember thinking, “Woah, this is super cool.” After that my friend Bobby let me come over to his house and play with his “aliens” that were characters from the Star Wars films.

Then Bobby let me borrow one of his Star Wars toys to take over to my house. It was all over after that.

It was like a drug. I needed more. Much more.

I would go to the store with my mom and always beg for an action figure. It didn’t always work, but when it did, I felt like I was assembling the worlds greatest collection of awesome toys ever. The scale of my collection really isn’t anything to sneeze at, it’s quite good and was meticulously taken care of, but it also served another purpose in my life.

I honestly can’t remember if I’ve shared this on the blog or not. (So if I have, I apologize for repeating myself, but there are so many posts on here by now that I have no real idea what I have/haven’t said about my life)

But my brother was a high demand special needs child. He always needed attention to make sure he was doing good. If he ended up in a bad mood he could harm himself or others. He was also prone to having serious seizures, so we always needed to keep checking on him to make sure we knew if one occurred.

As a kid I understood full well what that meant. It meant that I would have to entertain myself as best as I could because my parents were quite busy taking care of Todd (we’ll just say that’s my brother’s name).

This explains why I watched T.V., movies, played video games, and fiddled with toys all the time. If I was home, I needed to be in my room. Todd couldn’t play with my toys because he would likely destroy them. (He would also drool all over them and they would get super icky.) He was also much larger and stronger than me, so if he decided that he didn’t want me to be around him, he could physically dominate me. So, me alone in my room was the safest and most fun place I could spend my time.

So, back on topic. 

I spent a lot of time in my room playing with Star Wars action figures. And when I moved to Florida from Georgia I made friends with many more kids that loved Star Wars. My collection expanded to not only action figures, but MicroMachines and assorted items as well. Then one day my enjoyment took a strange turn.

I thought about how these toys may one day be worth money. I think I saw one of my neighbors collection those 12″ G.I. Joes. They were nicely displayed and kept in the boxes and I figured the same had to be true for Star Wars toys. If their toys were important…so were mine. Star Wars was waaaay cooler than G.I. Joe anyway.

And I began collecting and amassing toys that were still in their packaging. I proudly displayed them on my wall. I would routinely make sure they were dusted and unaffected by anything that would potentially affect their value. I used thumb tacks and pin them to my wall. The tack would then but used as a hanger to slip the packaging onto. (I never punctured the packaging at all.)

I even had toys in boxes that I really wanted to play with. Still, I held out. The whole packaging issue became so important to me that I eventually started keeping the packaging of toys that I decided to open. It just felt wrong to get rid of it. Even if the price was now nearly worthless because the package was open.

This continued until I was around 13.

I stopped collecting and didn’t feel as proud about my mint conditioned Star Wars action figures. I guess I was growing up. Or maybe I was told that I need to clean out my closet or something.

Then the day came when I decided that I needed to put them away. They needed to be put into the closet with my Jurassic Park, Power Rangers, and Batman toys. They were going to be officially retired.

As I was putting them into boxes I started to think about time. All the time that it took for me to collect these things. All the time that they spent on my wall. All the time that I missed out on playing with these guys. But then I realized that I didn’t even play with my opened packed toys anymore… so why should these be any different.

I might as well throw them away.

I found a whole mess of packaging with no toys inside. It was just garbage. It had no value at all. So I decided to throw it away. Then I found some of those silly little toys. Maybe it was from Taco Bell in a kids meal or something. And I threw those away. I even grabbed a few opened action figures and thought about throwing them away…

But then I said to myself something along these lines. “Maybe I will want to play with these later. When I grow up I might want to sell them when I get into college. Maybe I’ll still think they’re cool and will find a better way to show them off. Hey, I can even get a job one day and I can start buying more.”

But none of those reasons seemed to be really feasible. I didn’t’ really think I would keep a hold of them for much longer.

Then it hit me.

What if I have kids and they want to have some cool toys?

In that moment I decided that I needed to do it because of them. Just in case they had a brother like Todd that needed a lot of care they would have some cool toys to hang on their wall. They could even play with them if they wanted to.

I would let them open the package. If they wanted to. I would still tell them they should not open it, but if they really wanted to they could.

And that’s the really cool thing about my young self I remembered today. I was thinking about my future children having my Star Wars collection.

I’m not sure if that is more nerdy than cute but I’m still pretty happy about it.

I just hope I find a wife who’s okay with me moving my boxes Star Wars junk into our first home.

If she asks me why I still keep these toys, I’ll just smile and say, “What if our kids want to have cool toys?

Still making flying sound effects with my mouth,

D.A.

Teacher-isms

August 27, 2011

So, as you know I have been teaching students for about a week now. The time I’m writing this is about 3 hours after I have sent students away for the weekend. Seeing them exit the room was one of the more satisfying  things I’ve ever seen. I wonder what it’ll look like when I send them away for Christmas break? Or even after the school year ends?

I may fall to my knees and cry.

So here is a little “teacher-ism” I noticed today.

“Those who dig for gold, unfortunately, also have a heart of gold.”

I have a student in one of my classes who…is unique. Every time I manage to pay attention to him while he’s working or just listening to instructions/material he is always picking his nose.

And I don’t mean he is secretly using his pinky (little finger) to just barely reach inside of his nostril. He’s not even trying to hide it. His index finger is so deep inside his nose I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up damaging his sinuses. His vision even seems to focus on some distant object, as if he has the 1000 yard stare. The booger hiding near his brain must be his one and only goal in life.

The reason I mention this is because I may have influenced him to start a new habit.

Shaking hands.

One day after class he wanted to talk to me. He asked me about my little Yoda statue on my desk. He identified me as a nerd and really got a kick out of that. Then, as he was leaving I decided to do the nice thing and shake his hand. He really liked that too. He even wanted it to turn into one of those “bro” hand shakes**.

**(This is a very humorous exchange every time we shake hands. I don’t know why, but I always seem to forget he wants a “bro” shake. So I extend my hand, begin a normal handshake and then he changes grip real quick. I comply. Then he wants to change it again. But we both have never discussed what the next step in the hand shake is. So I always break it off there and just say “We’ll figure it out later.”****)

**** I’m certain we never will.

Keep in mind, this handshake exchange occurred well before I caught him digging for gold multiple times.

As of Tuesday, he wants to shake my hand at least five times every period.

And he’s a really nice kid. I mean, he’s got “a heart of gold” like I mentioned. He just seems to not realize the social implications and health implications of picking your nose in public.

I did not intend for that behavior to catch on among any of my students. I really appreciate a good handshake. I think it shows character and respect. It’s also a very safe maneuver to use in a school setting. That is why I use it. Sometimes I greet kids with a good handshake. Sometimes as they’re leaving I’ll give them one. I’ve always thought it was a pretty classy decision, until I came across this kid.

So there is my teacher-ism. The kid who picks his nose is the one who wants to shake your hand.

Now, I’m not going to deny this kid a handshake. He’s the only one who doesn’t hate me enough to give me one using his own free will. So I will accept anything I can get.

But do I cringe on the inside every time he extends his hand? Absolutely.

:::commences failed bro handshake on the internet with you:::

D.A.

In the short period of only 3 days I have become more responsilbe and feeble than my grandparents.

Case in point. I saw my grandmother today, and she told me how she was up until midnight playing cards with her friends. She even told me how she went to a store and just browsed around…

When she said this I could only respond in a very Napoleon Dynamite-esque “Luckeeyyyy…”

Oh how my life has changed.

For the past three days my alarms has been set to go off at 5:12 a.m. 

Yes, there are no typos in that last sentence. Allow me to highlight the areas that probably concerned you.

For the past THREE DAYS my alarm(S) have been set to go off at 5:15 A.M.

I have not woken up, consistently, that early in over two years. I will now continue to do so until I die/retire/quit/have a real weekend.

Yes, I own and use multiple alarm clocks. Does that make me a little crazy or paranoid? It sure does. I have a more “classic” alarm clock that has two separate timers as well as my iPod as a secondary alarm. The iPod usually has two alarms set to go off as well. That make a grand total of four seperate alarms every morning.

Have I ever slept through the first one? Oh yeah, all the time. The second? That’s a big “Youbetcha.” Third? I regretfully say I have needed it’s graces. The fourth? I- I- I don’t want to talk about this anymore…

I should also mention that I woke up at 3:57 a.m. today. That is so early even the sun is still rubbing sleep out of it’s eyes. Why would I be so crazy to do something this irrational? I had a lab that I needed to prepare for, so I had to go shopping. At 5 in the morning. At Wal-Mart.

In a side note:

Have you ever been to a 24 hour Wal-Mart that early in the morning? Probably not, and you probably wouldn’t want to. But allow me to inform you that it is actually really nice.

The people who are working are mostly restocking. So they are just doing their work, running around the store, and getting some of the most important work done for a very large department store. But these people are rather cheerful. They actually said “hello” to me as I walked by. (It might have been the tie, people always dig a guy in a tie. Especially if he looks like a zombie that stole a normal man’s tie.)

There was an open line in the checkout section as well! I know stores are notorious for building over 40 checkout counters and only have 2 open at once, but this was a good thing. Nobody else was there, so no more operators were needed.  The customer to employee ratio was outrageous. I was easily outnumbered. I only saw three other customers in the entire store. So it was a relatively easy operation.

(This last paragraph was edited to make sure I used a word that begin with the letter “O” once in every sentence.)

Look at me know…I must have grown up. I am rambling about check out lines and neck ties…

Oh, I lament the days of summer. How I would wake up in the afternoon and wonder what I was going to do that day. Then I would eat entire meals. And enjoy them. I didn’t have so many voices ringing through my head.

It’s always the same conversation.

“Mr. Bancroft can I go to the bathroom?”

“No.”

“Please.”

“No. You know the policy. And I’ve already allowed you to use your only emergency hall pass for the grading period. So, once again, no.”

“Oh, okay.”

“Hey, spit out you’re gum.”

“Oh, okay.”

Man Alive! Why do they think I won’t notice the larger chunk of blue goo in their mouths? And why is it always some unnatural color?

Maybe I should just give in and start carrying a cane? I mean, I already sound mean a crotchety. Why not, right?

I also wrote my first referral today. Much easier than I expected it to be.

Oh man, I’m picking up that cane this weekend after that last sentence.

****

So yeah. I’m surviving. But just barely. I would love to be able to take my mind off the whole thing, but I can’t. It’s becoming a real part of me now. It’s kind of scary.

Still, I’m going to actually try to enjoy this weekend. Even if there is a slight possibility that a hurricane could kill us all. (I live in Florida, so we will be missed by Irene, but a guy can fantasize.)

I’ll be honest with you, if this post is hard to read, it’s because it was hard to write. I just wanted to get on here and feel a slight resemblance of my life from four days ago. I’m actually struggling to stay awake and the sun hasn’t even set yet.

Remember when we used to argue about Batman and I drew stupid comics? LOL, I used to think about stories to write… Good times man… Good times…

(Did I just use a LOL back there? Yeah, It’s bed time…)

Now on a farmer’s sleep schedule,

D.A.

Tomorrow at 5:09 a.m.

August 21, 2011

That time will mark the beginning of the part of my life that I never really imagined would come.

I still wish I was pretending to be a Teenage Mutant Turtle (Donatello, of course) and putting Legos together.

I will wake up, get dressed, go to work, and try to teach/entertain over 100 people. I will continue to do this for a period that spans over most of the year. I will also get paid to do so. I will also be called Mr. Bancroft all day.

I will wear a tie and my converse. I will carry books back and forth from school to home. I will grade papers. I will have meetings and sit in on teams. I will have parent conferences and emails. I will take attendance and give detentions.

Only word comes to mind.

“Blllluuuuuuggggggg-mmmmmpppph.”

Cultures around the world identify this word as generally meaning:

“Who want’s to wake up at 5 in the morning?”

If I don’t post tomorrow, it’s because one of three reasons. 

1. I’m too tired to bother with silly and childish things on the internet.

2. I really want to do those silly things on the internet but was too tired because I woke up at 5 in the morning.

3. I was eaten alive by a a couple dozen freshmen in a local high school. Check the local news for my name.

(I should also distinguish that “silly and childish things on the internet” doesn’t mean what you do on the internet is silly, it only means what I do on the internet is silly. If you read/subscribe to this blog then you must know and understand exactly what that means.)

D.A.

As you all know, I’ve had a pretty busy week this week. And I know it’s only the first of many long weeks in my future. Still, I tried to find a little time to myself today.

I had to go back to school…on a Saturday… to help me get a little bit more organized for students showing up on Monday. I also had a family dinner/birthday party for a cousin in the evening. I knew I would be working and then socializing so I needed a little bit of time for Douglas (that’s me).

So as I was driving to the school I decided I should take the long route. I wasn’t in any rush, so why not?

And I just happened to think of one of the more wonderful places in my local area. It might even be one of the best kept secrets in my county. I just happened to be passing it and decided to make the tiny detour. I then pulled into the parking lot, stepped out of my car, and walked into a book nerd paradise.

Behold, my hideaway. 

 

 

 

Every time I walk through the door of this place I just feel tension leave my body. The smell is the firs thing I notice. The old pages and coffee grounds are fighting for control of the air space. There is no sound in the building. The books seem to absorb the shuffles and steps of people walking through the narrow passages.

As I walk deeper into the literary dungeon the temperature drops. It’s easy to notice because, living in Florida, it’s always hot outside and a temperature drop like this is a real delectation. There is also a small set of stairs you must descend in order to get down to the actual floor of the shelves. It’s even pretty dark in there, despite the florescent bulbs lighting your way. The tall shelves seem to stop some light from getting to all the book covers. (You can see this pretty well in the first photo).

Not to mention, look at all these books! Just drink that in. I wish I were a super reader and could just devote myself to turning all these pages. Don’t you?

But usually I just end up in the back of the store near the sci-fi stuff. I always find some real gems when I go in there.

I only wanted to spend about 15 minutes in there, but I guess time ran away from me. I walked out of there an hour later. But there was so much good stuff just waiting to get snatched up.

For example, today I found a whole slew of Robert A. Heinlein books that are new to the store. I also found some Michael Crichton books for less that two bucks.

Yes. I bought books. Even though I now have a full time job and haven’t even gotten through my Christmas reading list. That list that I said I would have done by the beginning of September…

So what.

I like buying books.

I’m justifying it to myself by saying, “If I didn’t buy these books, somebody else would have, and they may have ended up treating them badly.”

It works for me at least.

This store is called Raintree Books. (Yes, it’s one word.) They are probably not located anywhere near you. But if you are, by some sort of strange means, living rather close to it you should totally give it a visit. Despite my poor photography skills and lack of descriptive writing it is actually a very organized and clean place to go. These people know how to house a great collection of used books.

Also, I’m not sure if what I’m doing is illegal in any way. So just in case you work for/own Raintree Books I would like to apologize for taking photos of the interior of your wonderful store without permission. I just happened to be carrying my iPod at the time and thought I could capture my warm feelings about your store on camera. If you would like me to take them down, please feel free to email me. When I check that email (about every week or so) I will then respond accordingly.

Please don’t sue me for advertising for you for free.

Also, if you somehow see a boost in sales or web traffic, you can blame/reward me. I will accept store credit if you’re offering it…

So, I’m not sure if any of you have been lucky enough to have a store like this in your area but I do hope you keep using actual bookstores. While the whole eReader market is getting really big, there is still no beating a good physical book in your hands. Also, used books need love too.

But this store is more than a store for me. It’s a little escape from the world around me. It’s quite and cool. It makes me focus on titles and stories trapped behind them. Stress is nothing to consider while I’m browsing through some tattered paperback from the 70’s.

This is really what I hope you have. A place where you can just go and relax. A place where you lose track of time and forget the world outside. Where is your favorite place to run away to? Or is yours such a big secret that you don’t even let anybody know about it?

One more cool thing about this store. 90 % of the time I’m in there, it manages to rain outside. I’m not sure if that’s a play on the name of the store, (you know, with the books being made from trees and it’s raining outside), but I just like rain. It’s fresh and humid smell mixing with the pages as I walk outside is always invigorating.

Desperately looking for some free stuff,

D.A.

One of the “writing exercises” I do involves writing something short in a stream of consciousness format.

Allow me to explain.

I don’t try to write complete thoughts or even compete sentences sometimes. I just try to write random collections of words. The goal is to just let go and say any and every thing I possibly can.

Why do I do this?

I don’t even know why I would ask myself that question. I don’t really have an answer. But I can tell you that my skill in thinking like this came to me with time. Time and repetition.

That’s right, I called it a skill. It’s something that has been worked on. I’ve put effort into making sure I can really clear my mind and just let loose with silly words.

I also have a theory about the benefit of doing this.

I think it helps with my vocabulary. In my mind thousands of words exist but in my daily speaking mannerisms I only use, let’s say, several hundred. Now, if I just let fly words that pop into my head, I’m probably going to notice that some words keep showing up.  Sometimes, if I’m lucky, some new words will pop up, and now I have “unlocked” them and I will use them in my writing.

So let’s me and you try this whole stream of consciousness thing together.

What I’m going to do is sit here at my laptop and relax. Then I’m going to try my hardest to turn off my brain. That could take me a few minutes . I know when I’ll be ready to begin once I feel like I’m looking into a big blank void. (Yes, I’m totally serious about this right now.)

Now the next paragraph you see will be my actual stream of consciousness thoughts. It will probably be full of typos and run on sentences, it  will likely appear to be complete nonsense. That’s because it is. But I always seem to get a real kick out of it and maybe you will too. So here goes nothing…

happy horn tripe toes falling tenticle raid cars freak shopping. Calloused means are justified by wenches. Camels are not going to forget. Sometimes the rules say to knots and slip the rides. Some plubm mistakes full are menting topics. I can’t rear any farms adds. Purpose taunting loves villains

Wow…

Now that’s some crazy stuff. It started off with some messy and patterned thought (H**** H***** T**** T***** pattern). Then more flowing thoughts came through.

What do they mean? I haven’t the slightest.

Now, I’ve also noticed some wonderful little items here. I used the word “raid“. That’s a word that is not in my everyday language. Yet, there it rests. “Knots” and “tripe” are two more of those words.

I like to think of this as a spring cleaning sort of moment. I have all this junk in my closet and I need to get rid of it or need to reorganize it into a more useful position. So I dump everything on the ground and say “Oh wow, look at that! It’s an old Teddy Ruxpin doll.” Then you find a place to put it and say, “Look at that, I thought I threw this thing away 20 years ago.”

Now I have a Teddy Ruxpin sitting in my recliner waiting to scare the crap out of anybody who walk in through my door.

So, everybody wins.

In this analogy the closet is my brain and the junk represents knowledge (knowledge of words that is). Then, as I dig through the old T-shirts and baseball gloves, I see that Teddy Ruxpin.

I should also clairify that  “Plubm“, “menting“, and “wenches” are probably misspelled words for “plumb“, “minting“, and “wrenches“. But I don’t care. It was typing with my eyes closed and was pretty surprised that I went that far without too many errors.

So, just because you all are good sports, why don’t you try a paragraph or two? Maybe you’ll have a completely different experience. I would love to see your results.

Crazy thoughts today,

D.A.

Tired

August 17, 2011

I’m tired again…

It’s because I can! Don’t look at me like that.

And that means you’re going to get a lazy post. So in the mean time, listen to this awesome band that always manages to make happy and catchy music that is also visually pleasing to look at.

This is a video of the newest song from Pomplamoose called Monster Mask.

Oh hey, look at that. The title is right there in the video…

That’s right, I’m so lazy I’m not even going to hit backspace enough to delete that unnecessary statement.

There it is,

D.A.

And it turns out that none of you, with the exception of a dog that can miraclously use the internet, gets on WordPress during the weekends. 

I’m going to view this as a very good thing. It means that you either were too busy interacting with real human beings during this time period, or you were purposely neglecting to participate, in which I warmly shake your hand.

Why?

Because you a crafty enough to avoid appearing on the internet as “having no life”. Now the joke is on me because of my lack of life has caused me to ask a silly poll question involving internet usage.

Well played…

In other news, my feet feel terrible. I am standing on them for hours at a time and they don’t seem to like that. I’ve been contemplating whether or not to graph some old scissors I found in the lab storage room to my feet. So far the only thing I could use to help me do that would be some yarn. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.

Still, even if I did do that, it wouldn’t make much sense at all.

How would scissors on my feet help?

They wouldn’t. I am simply writing this despite the lack of sleep and higher order thinking skills. This may also explain the swing in thoughts you just experienced back there. So… sorry about that.

And I think I’ll leave you with that,

D.A.