One Of My Strangest Fears

September 28, 2011

There have been so many situations in my life where I have become stricken with deep fear.

Riding that roller coaster (never again), riding a ski-lift, being left alone at the mall by my mom (probably on purpose), meeting Barney the Dinosaur at that same mall… There are all kinds of moments. But one moment seems to pop up more often than I would prefer (like I would prefer to keep running into Barney, right?)

It’s a fear that causes me to stop all rational thought and panic. It’s a fear that I speak about only in hushed whispers. It’s a fear that makes me feel like I have some deep-seeded emotions that I haven’t yet discovered.

So I might as well make a blog post about it. Then some psychopath will find out who I am, kidnap me, drug me, and make me perform tasks associated with my fear for his entertainment. A-la Saw.

I have a real fear of my teeth falling out.

Allow me to make a distinction. No, I don’t expect to find myself walking into a dentist’s office with all of my teeth in a cup of milk (not sure if this works or not) because I tried chewing a Jawbreaker. And no, I don’t think my teeth are rotting away and will eventually fall out. (I keep imaging something along the lines of meth mouth.)

(Word to the wise: If you Google search ‘meth mouth’ you will see some very disturbing things. View at your own risk.)

Since this usually happens in the morning I always end up freaking out more than I should. My brain isn’t working quite right yet. Feelings are a little distorted at that time of the day. There are still occasions where this has happened during the day, when I’m more than awake, but these are quite rare. It usually involves me mistakenly chewing on a fork or something.

I should also preface this description with an explanation of a habit of mine. I am always using my tongue to feel my teeth. It’s constant. When I’m not doing anything, I’m feeling my front right bottom incisor tooth. I have this little sharp part that I imagine I’m sanding down over time. (In all reality I’m probably just scraping up my tongue, but no matter.)

When I was younger I did this in a much more obvious manner. I might use my fingers or chewing gum to make marks of how big my teeth had grown (after I lost my baby teeth of course.)

I guess the habit just stuck over the years.

And before your imagination runs away with this very private detail of my life, I don’t do it in an obvious way. I do it with my mouth closed and it can’t been seen. (I’m certain it can’t be seen.) So don’t go thinking that I stand there talking to people with my mouth agape and you see my teeth getting lashed.

Anyway! 

I usually wake up with the notion that I haven’t had incisors for the past 3 years. They have been taken out for some…experiment or something. Then I run my tongue over my teeth for a few seconds and actually feel gaps! Oh no! It’s like my brain is pulling one over on me. Then when I start to panic and look around on my bedspread for my teeth. I don’t find them. Then I end up reaching into my mouth with my hand only to be relieved that they are still there.

You win again Brain…

I’m sure none of you wanted to learn this about me today.

I’m also sure some of you have run your tongue over your teeth while reading this.

Are they all there? Anything missing? Did you count? Find any sharp points?

Oh, in a related note, I sometimes get the sensation that my teeth are “loose”. As in not in the proper positions and have shifted. I can then poke them and it feels like they are swaying side to side. Then I eat something and the sensation disappears. Weird stuff, I know.

So, since I shared some odd habits/details of my life, now it’s your turn.

Do you have any strange fears? Funny habits? Odd thoughts? 

Just checked his teeth again,

D.A.

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Grumblings

September 25, 2011

So I have a few things to pick on. And as a added bonus I shall present them in list form.

I will be speaking directly to all these items I mention.

Huzzah!

1. Commercials

Every moment of every day has some infomercial promoting some poorly made product to the masses with bright colors and loud announcers. There is always a 1-800 number associated with it and there is always the low price of $19.99.

Speaking as a consumer I think we are all wary of these tactics. The fact is that you are trying to sell us two of something that is really priced to make a 200% profit. We don’t even really want two of these things anyway.

So let’s just cut the crap and go back to the days of the Ginsu Knives and the George Foreman Lean Mean Meat Grilling Fat Reducing Machine. Not because the products you were selling were of a higher quality, (and they may have been) but because the commercials were at least mildly entertaining.

I still have precious memories of watching a loud man cut through steel cans…

2. Internet games.

Stop trying to draw my attention away from more important matters.

I would love to play you Star Wars The Old Republic/League of Legends/World of Warcraft/Call of Duty but I cannot commit to doing anything that you want me to. I have a job and concerns outside of leveling up so I can get a new mod for my character.

Yes, you are beautiful and flashy. You have cool themes and funny jokes. You challenge my ability to hit buttons faster than a 12 year old Korean kid that does nothing but play these games in his room. Still, I can not commit to you.

So stop tempting me. And if you don’t stop… then I’ll probably buy you and then play you over Christmas break.

3. Food.

How about you stop spoiling before I can eat you? I have managed to throw away wonderful food stuffs out of my refridgerator all because I didn’t have the time nor memory to eat you. If you never went bad this would not be a problem.

4. Cool cartoons from the 90’s.

When I was growing up I learned so much of my humor and life lessons from looking at you. So please make yourself known to the world by appearing on television/the internet more often. I would be happy to list those shows but frankly there are too many. If you were drawn and were on television in the 90’s you should still be shown somewhere. I want to watch you and remember the good old days when I would get home from school and eat some Gushers and drink a Hi-C juice box.

Also, Hi-C juice boxes and Gushers should magically appear in my pantry very soon.

5. My legs.

Stop hurting. I know you don’t like getting used so often but I really need to get places. You just keep doing your job and I’ll get to keep mine.

If possible, could you grow longer? I’m rather short thanks to you and I would like to be able to buy a pair of pants that are actually at the proper length.

That is all. Carry on.

D.A.

Psychedelic Potpourri

September 23, 2011

I have to tell you this crazy story about teaching. But before I can do that, I figured this would be a good time to tell you another thing that’s pretty cool. So stick with me, it’ll all pay off in the end.

When I graduated from college, (way back in the spring of 2011), my grandmother gave me the first of three handcrafted glass ornaments.

She said she wanted me to have them for two reasons:

1. She wanted to give me something that meant a lot to her. These glass ornaments were actually something I (D.A. “best grandson in the world” Bancroft) gave her when I was merely a youngin’. I’m not sure why I gave them to her, but i’m sure she thought they were great. She thought giving me these gifts would be her way of saying “look how far you’ve come”.

This whole gesture meant quite a lot to me coming from her. And I know it meant a lot to her. The ornaments, in her words, represented different moments of my “adulthood” (which sadly only happened this year). The first was for my graduation from college. The second for my teacher certification. And the last was for me getting my first job.

I though this was so awesome I’ve put them on my desk at work. One is a cool glass egg, the other is a globe, and the last is a friendly looking  plesiosaur. You know… like Nessie.

(Que the canned response from the audience)

Awwwwww…

2. The second reason (a likely the main reason) she gave me these ornaments is for more practical purposes. I’m quoting her in saying, “I’ve got so much junk and I’ll probably die soon anyway, so I might as well start giving stuff away before people start throwing it away.”

Thanks Grandma. You’re a true optimist.

I tell you all that in order to tell you this.

Today at school I had a very busy day. I had to have my final grades for the 1st quarter submitted, plan and implement 2 different labs, and still corral kids into doing what I want them to. It’s never an easy task but today was a harder day than many.

When I drove to work I needed pick up a few things from the local Walgreens to pick up windmill supplies. (Yeah, windmills for renewable energy lesson, go figure.) When I arrive at work I drop everything on the desk and begin working on entering grades on the computer. Why am I waiting until the last minute to enter grades? Because I lazy and …. well I’m just lazy. But that’s not the point of the story.

Eventually human beings enter my room and expect to do things. Oh yeah, I say to myself, I’ve got to teach today. So I do that and everything goes good. Then I get a planning/lunch period where I set up a lab for fourth period. Since I skipped lunch in order to enter more grades on the computer I started getting a little ragged out. I was running out of energy. With no fuel to power me I just hoped that the rest of the day would go by fast.

And it did.

I was so happy, things were looking up for old D.A. Grades were submitted. Labs were done. Kids were somewhat entertained. All in all, it was a B+ of a day. (See how I just throw grades out there?)

The final bell rings and I take the last breath and say the thing I wanted to say all day.

“Have a nice weekend. Now get out of my room.”

(Yes, that’s what I said)

As I walk out into the hallway (like any good teacher should) I start talking to a fellow teacher across the hall. Since me and her get along quite well we could have had an awesome conversation. Maybe we were going to start talking about how the Florida Gators are doing this year. The conversation might have moved on to a different subject. We could have ended up complaining about the prices of the school lunches. We might have even had the chance to talk about another teacher’s poor choice in music. Oh, what sweet memories they would have been…

Before these little moments could be shared I was interrupted with a very fast and high pitched holler.

“Mr. Bancroft! Mr. Bancroft! Mr. Bancroft!”

I turn and look inside of my room and see a student holding up a colored shard of glass.

“Oh no,” I say to myself. “I hope they didn’t kill my little nessie.”

The kid holding the shard looks at me and says “This fell on the ground. It’s not mine.”

“Of course it’s not yours. Who broke my nessie?” I said with a little perturbed edge.

I just knew in my gut that one of my glass ornaments had fallen to the floor. I was so disappointed in myself and my kids. They knew how much those meant to me. But why did I trust them in the first place? I know kids are clumsy. I know they end up doing stupid things. It’s my fault because I put them there. I knowingly put them directly in the line of fire.

That still didn’t stop me from feeling like it was all their fault. Some things that were going through my mind in that moment were:

How dare they! How could they! The injustice! The horror! The mess I would have to sweep up! What a boneheaded thing to do! Kids these days!

“No, Mr. Bancroft, It’s not your ornament.” the student exclaims.

Then what the crap is it?” I ask reluctantly.

“It’s a bowl. Like, for weed.” he utters with fear. “My finger prints are on it but it’s not mine, I swear. I just picked it up to show you.”

“You’ve got to be dookin‘ me.”

(Yes, I actually said this)

3 minutes later I’ve got an administrator and a SRO (student resource officer) in my room picking up the chunks of this stupid paraphernalia. He has that look in his eye that says, “Freakin’ kids…”

How dumb are high schoolers? Clearly they are dumb enough to bring their freaking weed pipe to school then leave it shattered on my floor.

And what will come of it? Probably nothing. There is no evidence to tie any student to the pipe. They all left before my attention was brought to it so I don’t even have any real suspects. (I do have suspects, but that’s just my judging eye looking at my group of kids. I really have no idea.)

What’s the point of the story? 

I dunno… No real point. Just telling you like it is. That’s the note I ended on today. A pretty sad and stupid note.

Well, at least some idiot won’t have a pipe to smoke with tonight…

Afterwards I bought some comics and ate a gigantic sandwich. It was lovely.

What’s the point of that story?

Comics and sandwiches are among my favorite things.

Not weed.

Until we meet again,

D.A.

:::Sigh:::

September 20, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. That’s to be expected when I’m killing myself with trying to stay afloat in the sea of education.

Have I forgotten about you? No, of course not internet. How could I forget about you? I’ve just been really busy pretending to be a teacher for the past week. We have report cards and a very strange amount of meetings to worry about. I’ve also had to deal with “situations” involving rather racist language between students involved in my classroom (very long story that you will hear nothing about).

All in all, I guess I could say that I’m feeling pretty dead in the water.

Killing….floating in water…. Pretty morbid stuff there D.A….

Yeah.

“How is it going?” you ask me in your best Freudian manner. You then take a long draw on you handcrafted tobacco pipe.

Oh pretty bad I would say. I haven’t graded anything that I should have and my grades have to be turned in tomorrow. Also, my kids in Biology failed a pretty easy test. This makes me contemplate whether I’m a bad teacher or my kids just didn’t study. Now I understand that it’s probably because they didn’t study but it’s really hard to believe that after I talk to them. They do a really good job at making me feel like I’m the smelly turd in the corner of the room.

That was a gross analogy, but whatever, it’s true.

Since I’m here. And since you’re here. I’m going to vent for a little bit. Feel free to tune out during this whole episode of The life and times of D.A. “da boss” Bancroft and tune in another day. (Maybe next week we’ll talk about trains or something.)

I would like to say that my students have managed to work very hard at staying “disengaged” during class. Maybe it’s my poor classroom management skills (which is true). Maybe it’s my inability to understand how to reach out to whatever learning style they have (which may or may not be true). Hey, it could even be that these kids really hate me (unlikely, but since I’m not in a good mood I’ll just say this is totally true). No matter what the reasoning is they still manage to do a great job of letting me know I’m not doing a very good job.

Here are some really pleasant and motivating things I hear for an hour and a half each day.

“You’re not very good at this.” “I don’t like taking these notes.” “Why is this class so boring?” “How come you don’t do things like (Insert teacher’s name here) does? They do it way better.” “Why are we doing this?” “Can I go to the bathroom?” ”

Oh, and my personal favorite…

Every 3.5 minutes I get to hear a long and loud

::::Sigh::::

I’ll admit it now. I dread 4th period every day. And I mean dread.

I’m not talking about the dread you feel when you have to take out the garbage at night and you already took off your shoes. Or even the dread of cleaning underneath your oven because you know you’ll find something awful.

I’m talking about the waiting in a hospital lounge to find out if somebody survived surgery or not. The dread of having to walk up to the bully and give up your lunch money….again…

I don’t know what to do with them…

Sometimes I wish I could just check out of caring about the whole thing. If I could do this job with no emotion I would probably not feel as drained as I do at the end of each day.

As for my other classes, I find myself enjoying and looking forward to seeing them each day. They manage to get interested in the material and ask useful questions. They’re even naturally well behaved (mostly). It’s also important for me to note that I have managed to get a much better grip on the material for those classes as compared to biology. (Remember, I’m supposed to be a biology teacher, not an earth/space teacher). While it’s good that I really enjoy how things are going in those classes (could be better, but I’m working on them), it’s also another demoralizing moment of realization.

Why?

Because my degree, (that lame piece of paper with my name on it) specifically says I am a successful student of biological sciences. I have  a statement of faith that says I learned how to teach biology, so well,  that a board of intelligent and successful educators allowed me to earn said degree. They believed I could do this one thing.

And, apparently, I can’t really do it at all.

I am so bad at doing it I end up going online on a blog that doesn’t even use my real name to complain about my teaching ability.

What if I wasn’t supposed to be the teacher I always imagined I wanted to be?

I still have that dream. I want to be a great teacher. But how can I pull that off in this situation? What do I need to change? Is it my personality?

Yet, I can teach earth/space science with relative ease?

What’s wrong with me?

I hope that I wake up in the morning and it just “clicks”. If the pieces come together in a way that I haven’t tried before, I would feel so blessed. I would feel so relieved. I would feel invigorated.

I would feel like I wouldn’t end up with ulcers by Christmas break.

Trying to chill before I go back to the trenches,

D.A.

(P.S. Bah! Humbug!)

 

Be A Man! Man!

September 15, 2011

So I’ve had this conversation a few times with some friends.

I think men today are, as a whole, much less manly than men in the past. Of course this is true of the men who lived in 1897. In those days men were known to go to fisticuffs with any random bear or moose that they crossed paths with. Today, men are limited to working in office cubicles and “killing” people using virtual bullets online.

Since I’m fairly qualified to speak on behalf of unmanly men in my generation, allow me to list the things that I’ve never done.

  1. Smoked a cigar
  2. Skinned an animal
  3. Hunted for food
  4. Hunted anything
  5. Gotten stitches
  6. Broken a bone
  7. Been in a bar fight.
  8. Drank a beer
  9. Ordered a burbon.
  10. Grown mutton chops
  11. Played in a contact sport
  12. Worn a pair of suspenders.
  13. Camped in the wilderness.
  14. Cooked a fish over a fire.
  15. Found something tasty in my beard.
  16. Used the word “carburetor” in a sentence that I knew what I was talking about.
  17. Solder or weld anything together.
  18. Replace a battery in a tractor.
  19. Fell a tree.
  20. Farmed anything.
  21. Complained about “those fellows in Washington.”
  22. Tame a wild animal.
  23. Build my own house.
Yeah, that’s all I can think of at the moment. But all those things are something that every man 50 years ago would have had a very good shot at doing. Even 30 years ago most guys would be able to scratch most of that off their list. Today, not much.
I think the manliest thing I’ve ever done would be when I did some landscaping.
But it wasn’t like it was cool or anything. I spread mulch and dug trenches for a few days.
Why should this concern you?
It probably shouldn’t. Unless you’re a man that’s living.
Anyway, it’s just a thought. Carry on.
D.A.

An Event

September 14, 2011

So, Mr. King and I have been working together.

You see, I’m still reading that book On Writing and I came across something that really made me stop and say, “Woah.” And yes, I said it in my best Keanu Reeves voice.

No, I did not learn Kung Fu.

Mr. King has described writing as one thing.

Telepathy.

We can literally transfer our thoughts into the minds of others by using the silly medium of written/printed words.

For his example he described a very unique setting.

Look –  here’s a table covered with a red cloth. On it is a rabbit with a pink nose and pink-rimmed eyes. In it’s paws is a carrot-stub upon which it is contentedly munching. On its back, clearly marked in blue ink, is the numeral 8.

While that is very little description, it’s done just right to make you imagine what that looks like. You actually did envision a cute little bunny who was gnawing away at an orange stick. Perhaps it was making those adorable little crunching sounds as it was nibbling. Maybe you imagined the rabbit as a white one with red eyes, or maybe it was a brown and white mix. The point is, you literally saw exactly what he wanted you to see. A rabbit with some very mysterious number on it’s back.

How awesome is that?

I read that and had to stop for a moment. I had to collect my thoughts.

I’m literally trying to make people think a certain way when I write…

That’s not only really cool but it also makes me tense up as I contemplate what power that could wield. Do I have a talent or skill developed enough to actually allow this to happen in my readers’ minds?

Quite honestly, no. I don’t think I have developed that far as of yet. I’m too busy trying to figure out how things are even supposed to look or feel. I’m too worried about if my story makes sense. I’m too nervous on whether I will say enough…

But Mr. King speaks on this again. (Since I can’t find the quote I’ll just paraphrase). He says something along the lines of “trust your readers.”

Trust them? How can I trust them with this world/character I create? They are mine. I want them to see the character as I see them. Nothing else…

Then i realized I’m a selfish writer. I write for me.

Yes, the name of the blog is bookforme, but that doesn’t mean my actual writing has to focus on what I want. I can reach out to my audience. (Since I don’t really have an audience, I will just pretend I have a certain group of individuals I want to read my work.)

So I can feel free to stop worrying about silly details about a characters past. As long as the character is real and easily relatable to the reader, what do I have to worry about? They will take care of them. They will give them a face, a walk, and voice, and an attitude that I couldn’t put into words anyway.

Okay readers, I’ll try to start trusting you.

D.A.

Sick

September 12, 2011

Hey!

I’m sick today! All sniffles and coughs and a little head ache to boot. Not too fun.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Oh, well at least he took the day off work. That would totally explain that very cheerful ‘Hey!’ at the beginning of this post.”

Then I would say, “Nope, I went to work. The ‘Hey!’ was me just trying to be friendly. Why do you look so much into little things like that anyway?”

Then you would say, “Well! I never! Who knew you could be so rude?”

Then I would reply, “I’m sorry! I didn’t know I was being rude. Still, it does seem that you’re being a little paranoid about your motivations for reading things I write.”

Then you would huff off and go sit in a corner. You would even shoot me “the eye” from time to time. The only way I can make it stop is if I walk over there and apologize for my silly comments.

***

Well, that was fun.

The reason for me not skipping out on work? I never miss out on work. I never skip out on school. I never skip out on anything. It’s just how I roll.

It’s only some sniffles…I would rather use my leave time for something much more important.

Also, it would be a real pain in the neck to fall behind in my teaching (more than I already have). It would also be a pain having to get a sub and know that my students would just devote their day to ruining that poor sub’s day.

***

So I’m still reading Mr. King’s book On Writing. So far I’m deeply enjoying it. I’m not sure how much it’s going to help me in writing considering how often I work instead of write but I guess if I want to get better I’ll have to make/find the time to do it.

The most important thing I have read in that book is concerning “passive voice”. In short, he’s not a fan. In short, I think I’m guilty of using it quite often. So maybe I’ll keep that in mind when I’m writing next time.

Now that I think about this, I think I’ve made sure not to do it in this post.

But that could be my sickness talking. I could be delirious from the sniffle/cough/head ache.

Another cool point the King of Steve said is this whole thing about “he said/ she said.”

He states that the best way to carry a conversation is to say “he said.” or “she said” after they say something.

Don’t go too deep into it. Just wait said. Don’t try to elaborate on it. By what the character says we should already have an idea on how they say it.

Annnnnd that’s all I remember from reading last night. Speaking of night, I will be avoiding it all together and sleep as the sun sets. I hope you enjoy your day tomorrow. Maybe I’ll get some grading done so I can end up writing a little this weekend.

:::drools:::

Well, I’m off to bed,

P.S. If you comment by saying “Hope you get better soon” I will look into that as your way of saying “I think you’re going to die a slow painful death.” Instead just say, “Grapes and fudge make a terrible dessert.” I will receive that as a nice way of hoping I get better.

Let’s see how well some of you pay attention.

D.A.

 

Some Days Just Require Action

September 9, 2011

Maybe it’s just Fridays in general, but today was a real tough one.

At the end of today I felt like I had been wading through marshes filled with molasses while having a root canal. There was nothing very pleasant about the day at all.

I had 3 different labs to do today. I even made sure these lined up and happened on the same Friday. Why? Because it seemed like a really good idea at the time. Then I actually had to do the labs with my kids…

It wasn’t the lab setting up that was the hard part, but the constant requests to use the bathroom and constant “Mr. Bank-croft” or “Mr. Uhmmmm…” as they raise call out for me to explain a question to them for the 4th time. Come on guys, I have done a pretty good job on learning your first and last names, the least you can do is remember my one last name. It’s not like you have 74 teachers’ names to worry about.

But like I said…maybe it’s just Fridays.

The point is I really needed to get away from it all. Even if it was just for a little while. A little “me” time would do me well. I also stayed behind at school really late yesterday, so I didn’t want to be there any longer than I had to.

So, I packed up after school and left. I decided to drive 30 minutes to my favorite comic shop and just geek it up for a little while.

Did that. Now what?

I’m not sure if what I did next was a sad thing or a good thing. I went to a restaurant and had a meal. By myself.

Why could that be seen as sad? Well, I’m just a guy eating alone trying to not spill anything on his tie. A guy that doesn’t have somebody to talk to. Nothing to laugh about. Nobody to share a smile with. Just me, my food, and a few restaurant employees. Not to menntion it’s a Friday night and I look like I’m an office worker trying to get a lunch in on a Tuesday afternoon.

Why could it be a good thing? I had been surrounded by dozens of people all day and I was through with that business. I felt great. I liked the idea of sitting (I was actually on my feet all day). I just leaned back and relaxed. I didnt’ care if somebody was with me. I might do it more often now that I think about it.

(Side note: My tie survived the meal.)

After that I went to a very large book store and just… did nothing. I perused and searched. I looked and read. I picked up and put back.

Annnnd I bought a few books…

Don’t worry, I actually started reading one of them and have already put down the first 100 pages. So I don’t expect this to be any real burden on me or my reading list fiasco.

The book?

On Writing by Stephen King.

Why this book?

Well, a few reasons really.

1. I’ve read excerpts of this book before. Especially a small part where he writes about how one article he wrote early in his life was edited by somebody right in front of him. He claimed it changed his writing style/career forever. This little piece has always stuck with me and now I can say I posses it and have read it in a legal way.

2. I have a teacher friend who has taught high school English and Literature courses. She claimed that King’s On Writing has helped a few of her students. Hey, she even had a lot of classroom copies of the book. Which is kind of scary considering how much cursing there is in the book. But that’s besides the point.

3. A nice internet stranger I met on here on WordPress seems to mention it at least once every two weeks. Since I appreciate how she writes, I definitely took her subliminal recommendation into consideration.

4. I want to be a better writer. So I figured reading advice/thoughts by one of the most popular authors to put pen to paper in the past 50 years deserves at least a little attention.

What will I gain from the reading experience? I dunno. Maybe a lot. Maybe none at all. At least I’m really enjoying this read.

Alright, it’s beddy bye time,

D.A.

Therapy

September 7, 2011

Therapy. We all need it sometimes.

That’s because we all have those days when we just need to chill. We need a breather. Our minds end up worrying about things that don’t really matter. Hey, even sometimes our minds worry about things that really do matter, but we just can’t handle worrying about it for too long. It’s just not healthy.

Some find help in meditation and relaxation. Some people seem to release their stress out while working out. Others believe that they can just talk it out with a friend or relative. A few might even enjoy doing something creative.

My therapy is playing guitar.

Yeah, I just pick up the old git-fiddle and pluck away. Well, I guess I don’t really think of it as plucking, more of a strumming or brushing manner. Some picking could be involved…but never a pluck.

I have played guitar for many years, but I havent’ really been playing all that much until I have been getting stressed out lately. Work is keeping me pretty busy and I need a release from time to time.

I really do enjoy music. But I’ll admit that my guitar skillz (purposly spelled with a “z” at the end to indicate how sick guitar skills are) really aren’t that flashy. I don’t “shread” or “groove”, I just play. I don’t plan it, it just happens. But the music is really the reason I play.

I do it because it physically hurts to do play. That’s right, it physically hurts me to play guitar.

Why?

I haven’t played this much in such a long time.

For those of you who don’t play guitar, allow me to inform you of the inconvienances of guitar playing.

Callouses. You need them. You really need them. And the only way to get them and keep them is to keep playing. I have been lacking in the maintinece department and have been paying for it ever since.

If I could just play 30 minutes everyday for the next week or two I’m certain my previous dexterity and strength (as well as pain tolerance) would be fully restored. For now, I only end up playing for a few hours every few days. Not nearly enough to build back those callouses.

When I used to play in high school and my early college days (Ha! It’s looks funny to see me type a sentence like that) I had some pretty incredible hand strength. This is due to my previous playing style.

For one reason or another I used to be in a metal band. While I’m not going to comment on the whole band thing (I’ll save that for another post one day), I am going to say this. We played really fast and really hard. I played bass with my string action set waaaay too high. But I liked it that way. I played so hard that I needed that little extra room over the fretboard so the strings wouldn’t bash against it too often.

In short, I could play harder without having to deal with unwanted distortion or “boinging” in my tone.

This meant my hand had a grip that could crush a cinderblock. (This is a very big lie but you get my point).

Now-a-days I end up whining to myself when I play. But that pain reminds me of the past. And I really like that.

I think of how my wrist would get so stiff toward the end of the set. Memories of how I used to get nervous about playing music and not messing up. Daydreaming about the number of hours I would devote to making something sound “right”.

Then I snap back into reality and think…I’ve got a ton of papers to grade.

There it is. My therapy sessions are playing guitar and remembering my glory days.

What about you? What do you do to relieve the stress?

Plucking Picking away the stress,

D.A.

I’m Just Going To Warn You

September 5, 2011

Now that I’ve been working like a big boy for a few weeks I come to realize something.

Vacations are really really nice.

No, I haven’t taken one. But this long weekend was just so darn wonderful that I wish I had more time to do just this. Not only is it nice to have a whole extra day off, but it’s also really nice to have a short work week coming up.

So what is that thing that I love to do when I get free time?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

It just feels good to not get anything done.

So I think I’ve been making a few plans in my head to help me plan a good summer vacation. Yes I know that Labor Day is generally considered the last day of summer vacations, but I guess it’s never too early to start planning.

I’m contemplating making a trip to Comic Con in San Diego. I have a cousin who recently asked me if I would be interested in going with her. She went this past year and said it was incredible (minus the long hours waiting in line to see a cool panel). I said I would be interested.

Would it be expensive? Yeah, a little, but the benefit is that there would be no charge for staying in a hotel. I have family over there and they live very close to the area.

So that could be happening.

Also, I spoke with my grandmother that lives in Missouri. She asked if I would be coming up any time soon. I said that could totally happen. So why not? Why couldn’t it happen? Hey, I could even go there after I go to Comic Con.

Yeah it would be a long trip. But I mean, it’s going to be the summer. Why not? Right? I would rather get tired of traveling and doing fun things than worrying about grades and lesson plans.

So that could be happening as well.

But if I ended up not going anywhere or doing anything, I would be totally fine with that too. Just the idea of kicking my heels up on the coffee table and vegging out for a few hours seems like it would be a great thing. And keep in mind, making sure that I didn’t have any lesson plans or grades to worry about would be a delight.

Now you’re probably wondering about the title to this post. My warning is that I could end up making plans and then not following through with them. Case in point, my reading list and lamp project are dead in the water. Maybe I could reassess my goals and finish those one day, but for now, they are relics of my past.

Now I’m making plans for next summer, but I’m not really free to make any of those plans. I may not even have a job after next summer. So what if I need to spend the summer looking for a new job?

Hey, for now, I’m just going to try to survive the weeks as they come. After that, I’ll have a better idea of what I am and what I’m dealing with.

So what about you? Do you already have plans for next summer?

D.A.