Busy Day Today

June 18, 2012

I’ve noticed an interesting trend in my life. The first words I speak every day are usually very odd. I really should just keep a little notebook next to me so when I say the days first words I can jot that down. 

Today’s first words were: “SHELLY’S SEPTIC!” 

I was standing in my bathroom…doing something you would normally do in a bathroom…and looking out the small window. For whatever reason there was a large truck parked in my neighbor’s yard. It was a septic removal service truck. The company was called Shelly’s Septic. Big letters on the side. It just looked like it needed to be said out loud. 

I’m not sure why I yelled it. And yes…I did yell it.

I calls em’ hows I sees em’. 

I also came up with a new thing I’m going to try out. 

You know the phrases “Shucks” and “Darn“?   Yes, these are all socially acceptable curse words that you might say it if you talk like you’re born in the 1940’s. I routinely use them in my everyday language but have been feeling like they’re a little stale. So I’ve decided to mix them up. 

Do you know what you get when you mix the two together?

Sharks. 

So now I’m going to exclaim “SHARKS!” whenever I have reason enough to exclaim. 

What do you mean you’re not impressed by that? Well, I got more for you. 

I went apartment shopping today. It was one of the strangest and most awesome encounters I’ve ever had with a person. She was passively insulting and I lied about owning a jet, having a dog racing addiction,  and owning a Jazzy Power Chair dealership. But that’s another post entirely.

(Seriously, the girl trying to sell me the apartment was a little loopy…and we were joking about 90% of the time she was showing me around but it turns out it was all worth it because it was the nicest apartment I saw today.)

Was the shopping successful? I think so… I may have found a future home for myself. 

I also bought a Mahjong game. It’s pretty rad and is nothing like the Microsoft version you have probably ended up playing. Thank you Goodwill. I still have no idea how to play it…but I’m sure I’ll start gambling with it soon enough. 

I also bought some apple juice. I’m sure you didn’t want to know that…but there it is. It was tasty. 

I’m going to a BYOM (Bring Your Own Meat) cookout tonight. So… I’ll be doing that. 

And there you go. Hope your day was half as exciting as mine. 

Now I’m off to eat the charred remains of some helpless animal. 

D.A.

Today Was The Day

June 12, 2012

Today marks the beginning of my self-proclaimed “Summer of Doing Things”. 

So far?

I went to a friend’s house and wasted a day away while making up a board game and eating pizza. That sounds like a pretty good start to me. Later I fell asleep on his couch and rediscovered that stretching out on the floor is amazing. It just cracked my back and realigned everything. I couldn’t believe it. I rarely lay on the ground…but if I can…I highly recommend it for you.  

I’ve also learned something about myself. Actually, it’s not so much that I’ve learned something but have finally defined something about myself. 

:::takes deep breath:::

Do you know what a “kick” is? Not the one for scoring goals. Not the one that you saw in Inception. 

A “kick” is a period of time when you obsess over something. It can be something real or it can be an activity. It can even be a place or a person (think like a crush). It’s not to be confused with an addiction. Addictions are long term and result in bad things. A kick is a short lived love of something. Most of the time you end up doing that activity for a few weeks and then you suddenly tire of it and stop. Then..weeks…months…even years later…you return with a newly revived vigor. 

They’re wonderful.

My life in recent years has been defined in different kicks. 

Such as…

  • Writing
  • Guitar
  • Sound recording
  • Exercise
  • Computers
  • Board games
  • Magic: The Gathering
  • Making stupid internet videos
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Reading
  • Lamps
  • Zombies
  • Comic Books
  • And many, many more…

So…why am I pointing this out this potentially obsessive compulsive behavior for all to see? Because I think it is actually a very healthy thing to do.

Really.

I think the more interests a person has it shows that they are keeping themselves stimulated and active. Yes, it might mean that our thoughts are sort of roller coaster at times but how is that any different than anybody else? Everybody goes through “phases” in life. My phases just happen to be focused around different activities rather than bouts of depression or relationships or life events. (I’m not saying living life in a way that is guided by these moments is bad…I’m just saying most of my life has occurred in bursts of interests from time to time.)

I think most people go through these “kicks”. At least I’m hoping that most of you go through this. Otherwise I guess it would seem that I’m a little crazy…

Am I crazy?

I guess it doesn’t really matter…I’m going to keep explaining anyway. 

I also think there’s a reason why kicks are defined over a certain period of time (usually short). It’s simple; we run out of fuel. When I’m in the middle of a kick I’m pouring out my juices of attention. (That’s a thing by the way…juices of attention. The trademark belongs to me D.A. Bancroft. All rights reserved. You can buy your T-shirts that feature this awesome catchphrase very soon.).

And trust me when I tell you this, I pour out until I run dry of everything I have to give. Then, when the well is dry, I allow myself to fill back up. But that takes time. 

To fill it back up all I have to do is just wait. The daily routine around me will cause me to remember certain aspects and interests as I go along my merry way. Sure enough when that cup becomes full once again it starts to pour and the kick begins again. Usually my efforts are a little more focused and contained the second or third time around. It’s almost like I pick back up right where I left off.

So…since I’ve told you about my past kicks…let’s explain my latest one. 

Right now I’m going through a “I really need a DSLR camera” kick. It’s got me in such a tight grip that I’m starting to think I might actually pull the trigger and buy one.

Do I really need one? Absolutely not. It’s almost ridiculous to imagine me running around trying to take pictures and videos of things (In 1080 p might I add…). But it could be a whole lot of fun, and for the “summer of doing things” it could be perfect. A new interest and a wide open horizon of possibilities. 

So if I end up purchasing one…what do I plan on doing with it?

Probably a lot of things. Maybe not much. I dunno really until I actually follow through and try this thing out. 

I might use it to really try my hand at photography. I’ve never really tried before but I think it would be a lot of fun learning a lot about it and seeing if I can develop the “artistic eye”. I could also start recording some of those silly videos me and my friends keep talking about. (And no, these friends are a dozen teddy bears that I keep in my closet, they’re real people.) 

I might try to make some recordings of me doing some science demonstrations for my classroom. This could come in handy because sometimes I don’t have the time or energy to set up a demo for students. While they can be wonderful learning moments we may not have all the materials to repeat the demo 3 or 4 times a day. So…if I recorded myself doing this (let’s say over the summer months) then I could just throw them up in video and can actually point out some pretty amazing things while not having to worry about burning down my lab room. 

I have even heard of something called the “flipped classroom”. This is where the teacher puts all the lectures and lessons online for students to access at home and all the homework is done while they are in my classroom on school days. Then the kids receive help from me on their homework and we won’t lose any class time to me teaching stuff. 

I dunno…that’s a little extreme but it’s a possibility. It’s even more possible if I gave myself a few trials to see if things like that would even work. 

Hey…I could even try…blogging…on video…”vlogging” as they say. 

But…I dunno…that would be awfully….different…

Still…I could try…

So you see? The sky’s the limit! I could do anything! (Well, I don’t think I could cook with it…or bathe with it…or perform a jet engine repair with it either…)

Anyway, maybe in a week I’ll tell you about how I have successfully navigated away from the strong current that is pulling me toward buying a camera. Or maybe you’ll see a nice crisp picture of a pile of leaves that made me “feel the artistic urge.” 

So I end with this… If you were me…in my position…would you do it?

D.A.

Naps Are The Devil

June 7, 2012

Seriously. Naps are the devil.

Today was the first day of no students for us teachers. You would probably suspect that this means today was an easy day.

I regret to inform you that it was not. I moved more textbooks than should be asked of a human. Cleaned all the materials off my desk. Began my scavenger hunt for administrative approval. Played to politicking game. All that and I’m only half done with my checklist, still need to finish grades, and we still have some textbooks missing from inventory…

It also didn’t help that today was a day that was so full of moisture that you practically needed a paddle to push yourself through the air.

So, I got home and decided to “rest my back”.

And you know how it is whenever you rest your back. You lay on your bed, and try not to move. You also have the fan on so you decide that you should close your eyes. It would be annoying to stare at the fan and let your eyes dry out…right? And then, hey, since you’re already there, you might as well slow down your breathing.

And then you start to think about soft music and unicorns…

BOOM!

Then you wake up two and a half hours later.

I’m 99% certain it was a nap. 1% possibility of time travel.

Either way, I’m groggy and tired…still.

Only one thing left to do.

Go to bed.

Goodnight,

D.A.

Something I Learned

June 5, 2012

As the school year winds down, I would like to share a little experience and lesson I learned yesterday. It’s what I’m going to call a “teaching constant.” It is as follows:

In every single situation, despite your best efforts to make sure otherwise, at least one person will not follow instructions.

Oh, you better believe I wouldn’t make a statement like this without some sort of back up.

You are now entering TRUE STORY LAND.

For the last lab I did with my kids this term, me and another teacher had set up an empty classroom as a “crime scene”. We put a dummy in the room and dropped some fake blood around and generally made a mess. It was pretty nifty. We even managed to get fingerprints on the windowsill and make it look like a struggle occurred.

Our two classes had been going through a forensics section in order to have a little fun before the school year was over. So we thought we would teach them a bunch of crime scene analysis methods and, for a final test, make them use those newly developed skills in a “real world” environment.

Pretty sweet deal, huh? I’m that cool teacher that let their kids leave the classroom and pretend they were cops.

In order to sell the whole idea to my kids I decided I would make up a ridiculous back story so they would feel a little more involved with everything. Just in case I offended or scarred a few kids, I decided to tell them that everything was made up. This is exactly how that moment happened:

The tardy bell rings and I begin my normal routine. I walk into the classroom and make sure my door is locked. As the door closes I check my lab door and office door to make sure the noise from my class will not spill into the neighboring classroom. I then take perch behind my demonstration table and begin my blabbering.

“Good morning!” I announce to the class. “If you have anything to turn in to me, make sure it’s put in the green bin. Today marks the beginning of the last week of school, so I have decided to give you guys a chance to change things up.”

This is the point where I usually have to field silly questions about something stupid that occurred over the weekend. But not today. Today I have an energy about me that is making the kids know that today is a special day.

“Before we begin today’s lab I want to be clear about one thing. Everything I’m about to tell you is false. It is fictitious. It’s fake. I made it up. It did not occur. It’s a lie. We’re just having fun, so I’m making this a little more interesting. Does everybody understand?

The peanut gallery only mumbles their acknowledgments.

“Okay then…” I know the mumbles meant nothing. I know that the kids had turned off their brains as soon as I asked a question. I knew somebody was going to end up embarrassing themselves in front of everybody, I just didn’t know who it would be. So I decided to change my tone of voice and expression. I took a solemn form and spoke with authority.

“I hate to be the one to tell you all this…but there was a murder here on campus over the weekend…”

And do you know what I heard from no less than 5 different kids .03 seconds later?

REALLY?!?!?!

A little bit of my brain leaked out of my ears that day. (Summer’s almost here…)

Want another example?

Do you know how many times I told my kids we won’t be having a final exam because they already took the End Of Course Exam earlier in the year? I”ll tell you. Over 20,000 times. Do you know how many kids asked me last week for a review pack so they could study for the final? Almost every single kid.

For a blood typing lab I told all my kids to only use three drops of blood in each of their tests. Do you know how many times I told them to only use that much blood? That’s right, 18 billion times. Do you know how many kids had to have me reiterate those instructions to them during the lab? Every. Single. One.

So there you go…no matter how many times you tell people to stir and not shake…they will shake. No matter how many times you request that people use centimeters instead of inches. No matter how many different ways you can write down and explain instructions. Despite your best efforts… Despite your harshest tones…

Despite your genuine care and concern for their safety you will always have at least one person not follow instructions.

If it sounds like I’m getting mad about this, I’m really not. I’m simply stating the truth. Kids (and people in general) don’t do a good job at following instructions. We mess up. That’s something I’ve come to learn this school year.

So the best thing we can do is be ready for it. Just do a facepalm and move on.

D.A.

I Can Taste It

June 4, 2012

Today may have been the hump, so to speak. I worked like crazy from the time my eyes opened until the moment I just sat down to write this very post. That means the rest of the week should go relatively smoothly. 

But that’s all relative.

I could also be wrong…

I could also pretend that I’m a chocolate fudge brownie that’s about to be dunked in milk and eaten by a grubby-handed child. But to think like that would be crazy.

Though I do like brownies…

Anyway, I’m just writing this to inform you that students leave my presence in two days. Then, I leave the school’s presence three days after that. Then I begin the Summer of Doing Things (which is what I’m calling it now).

I will see you with my full amount of attention soon. Many explanations await.

D.A.