Summer To Do’s

June 21, 2014

Thanks to humanity’s understanding of planetary motion and geography today marks the official beginning of summer. 

Huzzah!

Now, I’m not a typical summery kind of person. For instance, I live in Florida, where’s it’s summer 9 months out of the year. So if we were to break this down into formula (heat+humidity)/tolerance = insanity threshold. (The unit of measurement is a “Frick”, or “F”.) So when the insanity threshold reaches a full Frick unit we all start to say things like “It’s way too fricking hot to do anything outside.” 

So…yeah…I like it when it’s a good deal cooler. 

But this year, that changes. This year I’m going to be actively more engaged in going outside and doing things. And while I’m at it, allow me to throw together all those things in one of those old fashioned lists of things I say I’ll do but never get around to doing.

Heh, maybe I should get my named changed to D.A. DOESN’T…

You get it…? 

It’s because I’m lazy…

So, here’s the summer to do list:

  1. Read: During the school year I’m working hard. My brain is fried like the golden batter of a eight pack of nuggets from Chick-fil-a…(drools). Since we’ve last spoken I’ve pretty much only read 4 books. Some of them were read completely; some were not. (I feel ashamed, I do). I did a little non-fiction kick at the beginning of the year (which I will certainly make a post about later) and I’ve delved deeper into the Dark Tower Saga from a guy named Stephen King. (This guy is going somewhere one day, take my word for it.) Right now I’m on the book Wizard and Glass which is the fourth book in the series. I plan to have book five done before the middle of August. I’m trying to be realistic because I might get sidetracked into reading other books. Also, two books is a lofty goal for my addled brain right now, so if I fail on two books and one read one…I still win. Or maybe I lose because it is not Ka-tet and I will have forgotten the face of my father…(OooOOooOOoo…seewhatididthere?)
  2. Write: This should be number one…but I didn’t think of it first when I wrote this, so it’s holding down the deuce. I plan on using the increased use of this site to ignite the pyres of words hidden in my mind. I’ll likely publish those shorts here as they pop up. Let’s go ahead and say…a story every 2 weeks? Seem realistic? sure…sure…why not? I’ll also try to limit posting here on the blog to a few times per week. You know how pacing helps you win the longer races. 
  3. Move: I’ll be moving this summer to a house. Like a bonafied real house. With windows and doors and neighbors that aren’t sharing walls with you and have very strange noises coming from behind those said walls. I’ll have a backyard and a front yard (that I must mow). And I’ll have big empty spaces that I can play guitar really loudly in without disturbing the already disturbing neighbors. 
  4. Play Music: And do it loudly. I’ve even contemplated purchasing a new amplifier for this noise making endevour. Hopefully people will come over and play music with me also, which would be nice. 
  5. Do something about my laptop: This is a very tricky area that I may just allowed to happen organically instead of forcing the issue. My only computer is this laptop. It’s not that old (maybe 4 years) but it most certainly needs help. I’m considering buying a new battery and just gutting the whole thing. Maybe that means buying a portable hard drive and backing up the important stuff, resetting to factory settings, deleting bloatware and see how far that gets me. I’ve also entertained the idea of changing the operating system to Linux. This is a little unnerving because I really don’t know much about computers and have grown up only on Windows. So to pull away and do something different (but still well supported as I understand it) is a hard thing to do. The nuclear option will be to purchase a brand new shiny thing which would be more capable of some of the other goals I might have down the line. (Maybe even join the desktop community).
  6. Plan for the next school year: I really want to try getting a good deal of work done BEFORE the kids come back and I got to do the whole thing again. I always like to get better at things. Every year I’ve taught I change at least half of what I did previously. My goal would be to get everything for the 1st quarter planned (in the newly required format), assignments copied, new strategies thought up, and create a new method of sharing content. That method of new content delivery would preferably be shooting some fun little videos that give kids content and also make it fun. (think Bill Nye meets poor high school teacher). I’d like to have units or certain topics that could become “flipped classroom” content. More on that later.
  7. Design a board game: Well…that’s not totally true. I plan on re-theming a board game and then focusing on some of the key mechanics of that game. Then I will tweak that game until it comes out with a more unique playing experience that is wholly different than the game it was based on. What game is that? It’s going to be based on the game Lords of Waterdeep but with a theme of shopping on during Black Friday sales. It’s a pretty fun game that I think could be a little bit more fun with a bit more satire and or humor. (But honestly, if you’re into board games, check out the reviews on boardgamegeek and consider playing it, it’s quite a bit of fun despite everybody’s reluctance to want to be roped in with the DnD crowd.)
  8. Play more disc golf: Yeah, I somehow got hooked on playing disc golf a few months ago. Is it just a kick that will die out shortly? Is it a long term habit of forming new friendships and skills in a hotter than Venus environment during the summer? Is it a way to get easily frustrated when you lose a disc in some unholy thicket full of barbs and thorns that forbid you to enter and retrieve your molded plastic you paid $10 for? I’m not sure…but I do know I like it right now…so I’m going to be doing a good deal of that. 
  9. Paint: I want to paint more. Because I’m elegant and crap. I’ve had some ideas strike me that I know I will not turn out the way I want them to, but man…I’d still like to try. Also, I paint watercolors now…sorry if I haven’t mentioned that as part of what’s happened in the past year…my bad. (don’t worry, I’m not some hidden savant of the brushstrokes, I just found it pretty neato and was something I tried.) 
  10. Poop my pants if the U.S. moves out of group stage in the World Cup: This would be sudden and unexpected to occur, but if it does happen, the stinkies will happen.
  11. Clean pants if that happens: See above.
  12. Try eating Kale: Because that’s a thing now and I want to judge for myself before I start badmouthing its trendiness. 
  13. Learn a new skill: I don’t know what it is. Could be knitting or cooking like a pro with a wok. It could be learning the basics of finance or learn to canoe. I’m not sure what it is, but it would be nice to learn something new every once in a while. Add some extra flavors to my life. (Which may or may not taste like Kale) 
  14. Stretch: In high school I won the class award for “least likely to be confused with Dr. Richard Reed AKA Mr. Fantastic”. With that honor came the great inconvenience of not being able to fully expand without something popping inside of me. Most people liken the sounds to that of a submarine diving deep and the hull crinkling due to the pressure. 
  15. Buy some new music: Yes, I’m one of the 26 people on earth who actually still purchase all the music they listen to. Why? Because morals. That’s why. Because I want to give my money to a band to support them. That’s why. Because I’m a little dated. That’s why. So deal with it. 
  16. Climb Mount Everest then jump to the moon while on fire and winning the world cup with the sweetest bicycle kick in stoppage time: Because who DOESN’T have this goal? Right?

So there you go. Another list of lists to end all of the other lists have have surely popped up in your reader feed today. Thanks for reading. Actually, what I’m more willing to be is that you just sort of looked at the title of this post, saw that it was a guy who wrote more than 200 words and said, I will click follow so maybe he clicks follow. If I did that, dear friend, then we’d all be followers…right?

If that last statement offended you please keep in mind I still have this powerful stench of bleach in the air from cleaning out this place from yesterday. The plummer is coming tomorrow. To add to that, I discovered what went unchecked in the fridge. It’s currently sitting on my couch eating old hot dogs and learning to speak English by watching T.V. commercials. 

As for you, what do you plan on doing this summer? Travel? Meeting up with friends? Carving a image of yours truly into a stump of a tree with a chainsaw? I’m just asking. I’m not trying to encourage any odd behavior like that. 

But, if you do…make sure you get my eyes right. People always mess up the eyes. 

D.A.

Advertisements

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.